Joseph Edward Presko (born October 7, 1928) is an American former professional baseball player. A right-handed pitcher, he was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1948 as an amateur free agent and made his Major League Baseball debut on May 3, 1951.
Used primarily as a starting pitcher in four seasons with St. Louis (1951–1954) and as a reliever for parts of two seasons with the Detroit Tigers (1957–1958), he was known as "Baby Face" Presko, "Baby Joe," or "Little Joe." He was listed at 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) tall and 165 pounds (75 kg).
Arm troubles forced his retirement from professional baseball after the 1959 season, and Presko retired to his Kansas City home with a lifetime record of 25-37 in 128 games played including 5 saves and a career earned-run average of 4.61.
After retirement, Presko coached American Legion Baseball, mentoring a young David Cone, who went on to star with his hometown Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees, New York Mets, and Toronto Blue Jays.
Throughout his career, Presko played alongside MLB icons including Stan Musial, Al Kaline, Enos Slaughter, Joe Garagiola, Jim Bunning, Billy Martin, Red Schoendienst, and Harvey Haddix.
He is featured in the initial launch for the Topps Company's 1952 Major League Baseball trading cards #220.
By Dean Hanley
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