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Carl Petroziello

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: December 20, 1922 Pittston, PA
Date and Place of Death:    August 14, 1980 Pittston, PA
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Third Base
Rank: Private First-Class
Military Unit: 1st Battalion, 315th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Carl C. "Hoodsie" Petroziello, the son of Alphonso and Theresa Petroziello, was born on December 20, 1922, in Pittston, a city between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. His parents were immigrants from Italy, and his father - a coal miner - was one of many who had come from Europe to boost the labor force of the local mines.

Petroziello, a stocky, left-handed hitting third baseman, was a graduate of Pittston High School and was playing semi-pro baseball in the local area when he signed with the Batesville Pilots of the Class D Northeast Arkansas League in 1941. In 25 games, the 18-year-old batted .279. In 1942, he joined the Moultrie Packers of the Class D Georgia-Florida League and batted .250 in 125 games. In 1943, Petroziello found his stride at the plate. In 104 games with the Hornell Maples of the Class D PONY League, he batted .310 with 67 RBIs and a league-leading 11 home runs, and was looked upon as the best third baseman in the circuit.

On September 13, 1943, Petroziello was sold to the Albany Senators of the Class A Eastern League, but military service intervened before he could report.

The 20-year-old began six months of army training on October 21, 1943, before leaving for Europe, where he served as an aid man (medic) with 1st Battalion, 315th Infantry Regiment of the 79th Infantry Division.

The medic was the man who lanced and patched up blisters. He gave aspirin for head colds and watched over the purity of his unit’s drinking water. In combat he was the one expected to come to the rescue of his wounded comrades. The pained cry of “Medic!” brought him on the run. It was the rapid response of the medic and his litter bearers, often under hazardous conditions, administering first aid, applying tourniquets, injecting pain-killing morphine, and rushing a casualty from the front that was responsible for saving many lives.

Private First-Class Petroziello was in combat in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Czechoslovakia. He was wounded four times and was missing in action, presumed dead, for a number of days, before rejoining his outfit. In Czechoslovakia, in January 1945, with complete disregard for his own safety, Petroziello performed a feat that earned him the Bronze Star. In the heat of a battle against German forces, Petroziello carried three wounded comrades to a building, crossed to an open space covered by enemy fire to radio for a medical vehicle and, meeting the truck behind the lines, took over, drove the truck alone under heavy fire, loaded the casualties into the truck and raced them back to safety.

In addition to a Bronze Star, Petroziello was honorably discharged from service on December 15, 1945, with a Purple Heart with three oak leaf clusters, and three battle stars.

The 23-year-old, who had missed two vital seasons of professional baseball, was determined to pick-up where he left off with his career. Joe Palla, a major league scout who lived in Scranton, heard that Petroziello was back from the war and would be in good condition to play. "Hope this is true," Pall remarked, "as this boy is a fine prospect, or was before he went into the service."

In 1946, Petroziello joined 30 other ballplayers who were looking for a job with the Albany Senators at their month-long spring training camp at Saratoga Springs, New York. Although he hit the ball well in training, manager Rip Collins, chose Tom Webster over Petroziello to play third base and optioned him to the York White Roses of the Class B Inter-State League at the start of May. He played 19 games at York at batted .317, but decided to quit baseball.

Petroziello married Mary Estock on November 11, 1946, and he attended the Greater Pittston GI Vocational School, where he continued to play baseball for the Black Knights against local college and semi-pro teams.

Carl "Hoodsie" Petroziello passed away on August 14, 1980. He was 57 years old and is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery, in Carverton, Pennsylvania.

Date Added December 26, 2017

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