Thursday, March 30, 2006

March 30th, 1983

Joe Cicero Dies

I've written before about my "What the hell...?" discoveries, players whose numbers create more questions than they answer. Such is Joe Cicero. Nicknamed "Dody"--I don't know the story on that either, although I like his given name, especially the surname, quite a bit--Cicero appeared in just a handful of games, in 1929, 1930 and 1945. In 1929 Cicero played just ten games, although he did manage to hit .312 and slug .500 in that time, an especially impressive accomplishment given that Cicero was the youngest player in the league that season at age 18. He reappeared the next year but hit .167 and also lost his youngest player title, to a guy you'd know, Hank Greenberg.

Cicero is then out of Major League Baseball until 1945 when he reappears playing for the Philadelphia A's in twelve games and hit .158 after which he was gone for good from the highest level. Unfortunately, unlike that earlier "What the hell...?" this one has no apparent explanation. I found one small tantalizing bit of information that referenced Cicero as being a cousin of Clark Gable. Gable was still a relative unknown in 1929-30 (his fame really took off with 1932's Red Dust) so it is unlikely that played any part in Cicero's early time. By 1945 Gable was a big star however, and coming off time in the Army helping he war effort. I suppose it is possible Cicero somewhat manipulated that into limited Major League time, but ultimately that's just a guess.

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