Ralph Mauriello grew up in Brooklyn, NY where he cheered for his hometown Dodgers team. At the age of 18, he was signed by the Dodgers as an amateur free agent. For the next six seasons, Mauriello enjoyed success in the minors. He pitched for various teams from Class C through AAA and enjoyed his best season in 1955 as part of the Mobile Bears of the Southern League (AA). That season he finished with a team leading 18-8 record; second overall in the league to future major leaguer Jerry Dahlke (19-5). Two years later, in 1957, Mauriello posted another solid season with the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League where he went a team best 11-5. The ’57 Angels had 10 other future MLB pitchers on their staff including future Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda.
In 1958, Ralph watched his beloved Dodgers leave his hometown and head out West. Later that season, however, he would live his childhood dream of playing in the majors. In mid-September, Ralph would get the call. He made his big league debut on September 13th against Vern Law and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Mauriello would only last a third of an inning allowing 3 runs on 3 hits. It wasn’t the debut he had hoped for, but he would get another shot six days later. This time around he faced Johnny Briggs and the Chicago Cubs. Giving up one run on five hits and notching six strikeouts, Ralph earned his first big league win. Ralph would appear in one more game for the Dodgers in 1958, this time in relief. After the ’58 season, Ralph never again made it back to the majors; his first big league win turned out to be his only win.
We recently wrote to Mr. Mauriello. We asked about the highlight of his big league career:
“…it was a great thrill to pitch in a major league park and strike out hitters like Ernie Banks”
Ralph continued to recall his career in detail…recounting his tour of the minors, famous teammates, and managers:
“My career lasted 8 seasons and included a large number of minor league cities. Newport News VA, Santa Barbara CA, Pueblo CO, Asheville NC, Mobile AL, St. Paul MN, Victoria TX, Los Angeles CA (PCL), Spokane WA, Los Angeles CA (Dodgers), Spokane and Montreal Canada in ’59 and finally Montreal, where I finished my career in 1960.
Teammates of mine that you may have heard of included: George (Sparky) Anderson, Tommy Lasorda, Roy Hartsfield, Ron Perranoski, Jim Gentile, Maury Wills, and Frank Howard.
My managers were Stan Wasiak, George Sherger, Goldie Holt, Ray Hathaway, Clay Bryant (4 yrs), Max Macon, Bobby Bragan, Lou Rochelli, Pete Reiser and of course Walter Alston.”
We also asked if he would do anything differently in regards to his career:
“It was a lot of fun, and I would change only one thing, I would, if given a second change, sign with a team that need pitching. Like the Boston Red Sox, who in fact offered a bigger bonus than did the Dodgers ($35,000 vs. $40,000). I chose the Dodgers because I was born and raised in Brooklyn and was a Dodgers fan.”
Finally we asked Ralph what his most memorable baseball moment was:
“My most memorable moment in baseball was my only big league win in Chicago with the Dodgers in 1958. The thing I remember most was that the plate seemed wider than it had ever been during my career. I kept asking my catcher, John Roseboro if those pitches that were being called strikes were really over the plate. He said “Absolutely.”
To which I replied “Those pitches were balls in the minors. I guess I’ve been pitching in the wrong league all these years.
It was also interesting to be relieved by Johnny Podres with 2 down in the eighth inning. I had two strikes on Dale Long, a left handed hitter, when I bounced a curve ball through the legs of Roseboro. It would have been OK except that the runner that was on first moved to second into scoring position, and the score was 2-1 our favor.
Alston came out of the dugout like a shot and replaced me with Podres. I argued that I wanted to stay in, but it was no use. Podres came in a threw one pitch for strike 3 and we were out of the inning. He pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out the last hitter. Roseboro brought the ball to me as a souvenir. It’s now in my trophy case labeled “First Big League Win. Obviously, I expected a few more. But it was not to be.”
We asked Mr. Mauriello what he did following his playing days:
“…I also recognized that my career as a baseball player would be over by age 32; 35 if I was lucky, so I prepared for life after baseball by getting a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from USC, and a master’s degree is computer design from UCLA. I did this by going to school each September after the baseball season ended.”
Mr. Mauriello is now retired from his successful computer design engineer career. Ralph, however, is still very active. As noted in The Baseball Historian’s interview with Ralph, he enjoys to sing. Mauriello sings with the San Fernando Valley Male Chorus and Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church choir as well as special events. Hoping to find more information about his performances, I did a little research. I was very pleased to discover that Ralph had posted a couple of his performances online. Enjoy!
Ralph Mauriello singing “New York, New York”
Ralph Mauriello performing M’Appari; an aria from the opera Martha
Full text of our correspondence. Click to enlarge.