One of the top second basemen of the 1930s, Tony Cuccinello, who may be best known as Tony C’cnlo in box scores, was a member of the first ever National League All-Star team in 1933. Although Frankie Frisch got the start, Tony was a solid contributor throughout his Major League career. The three-time All-Star was also a nifty fielder, ending his career with an above average fielding percentage of .973.
Cuccinello became the Reds regular third baseman as a rookie in 1930 and finished second to Hall of Famer Freddie Lindstrom in homeruns among hot corner custodians. Reds skipper Dapper Dan Howley used Hod Ford at second base that season but shifted Tony to the number four position in 1931. Cuccinello took to the new position like a compulsive eater takes to the buffet. Tony led Major League second basemen with 93 RBI and 39 doubles in ’31.
Just before the first pitch was thrown in the 1932 season, the Reds sent Tony to Brooklyn in a blockbuster trade with Clyde Sukeforth for Hall of Fame catcher Ernie Lombardi and sweet-swinging outfielder Babe Herman. Although Lombardi would become a legend in Cincinnati, Tony performed admirably for the Dodgers. His first year in Brooklyn, Tony paced senior circuit second basemen in homeruns and slugging average. Cuccinello teamed with shortstop Buckshot Glenn Wright to give the Dodgers the only double play combo in the Major leagues with each man reaching double digits in long balls.
In Tony’s All-Star season in 1933, he led NL second basemen in homeruns and did the same in 1934 while also topping his position peers in doubles, RBI and slugging average. For the third year in a row, Tony paced senior circuit second basemen in homeruns in 1935 despite playing in just 102 games. He didn’t stop at three straight seasons, making in four consecutive years of powering past his peers in 1936.
In 1937, Cuccinello led NL second basemen in RBI with an even 80 as a member of the Boston Braves. The following year, Tony made his second All-Star appearance while again leading National League second basemen in long balls. An injury limited him to 81 games in 1939 and also signalled an end to his days as a star.
During the 1940 season the Braves traded Tony to the Giants for Al Glossop and he managed just a .208 batting average for the Giants. The Giants handed him the role of player/manager for their minor league affiliate in Jersey City during the 1941 season but when World War II started taking men from the Major Leagues the aging Cuccinello returned to the Major Leagues, playing with the Chicago White Sox. Tony’s last year, the last year of the war, he hit a robust .308 and even netted a handful of MVP votes at the age of 37.
G 1,704/R 730/H 1,729/2B 334/3B 46/HR 94/RBI 884/BB 579/SO 497/BA .280/SA .394