Mark Lemongello (born July 21, 1955 in Jersey City, New Jersey) is a retired professional baseball player who pitched in the Major Leagues from 1976–1979. He played for the Houston Astros and the Toronto Blue Jays. He is the cousin of singer Peter Lemongello.
Lemongello was known throughout his career for his erratic, sometimes violent behavior, which sometimes overshadowed his on-field accomplishments. He would often furiously slap himself in the face after a bad inning, and after bad games Lemongello was known to destroy locker room equipment such as hair dryers and light fixtures in fits of anger. By his own admission, Lemongello admitted to reporter Alan Abel: "My head was messed up."
After spending three seasons with Houston, where he compiled a 21–29 record, Lemongello balked at being traded to Toronto, asking if Canadians "spoke American." His tenure with Toronto was little short of disastrous, as Lemongello spent half a season with the club going 1–9, before being sent down to the minors after a screaming match with manager Roy Hartsfield. When informed he was being sent down to Syracuse, he threw an ashtray at the head of Blue Jays GM Peter Bavasi, barely missing him.
Lemongello never appeared in another major league game. Sold to the Chicago Cubs in 1980, his playing career ended that same year with the Triple-A Wichita Aeros.
In 1982, a few years after leaving baseball, Lemongello and Manuel Seoane (a former Wichita teammate), were arrested for the kidnapping and robbery of Lemongello's cousins Mike Lemongello, a former professional bowler, and Peter Lemongello. Lemongello was sentenced to seven years probation after he pleaded no contest to the charges.
By Dean Hanley
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