Americo Peter "Rico" Petrocelli (born June 27, 1943 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American retired baseball shortstop and third baseman who played his entire career in the American League with the Boston Red Sox (1963–1976). After a brief stint in 1963, he joined the team full-time in 1965.
In 1967 Petrocelli was selected to the All-Star game during the Carl Yastrzemski-led Red Sox' "Impossible Dream" year. In Game 6 of the World Series, he belted two home runs against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Sox ultimately lost the series 4 games to 3. In 1968 and 1969 Petrocelli led the league shortstops in fielding percentage. In 1969 he set a record (since broken) for home runs by a shortstop with 40 and repeated as an All-Star. He had another good season in 1970, hitting 29 home runs and a high-career 103 RBI.
When the Red Sox acquired Luis Aparicio in 1971, Petrocelli moved to third base. At his new position he once again was the leader in fielding percentage making only 11 errors in 463 total chances for a fielding percentage of .976. In the 1975 Fall Classic, which Boston lost to the Cincinnati Reds, Petrocelli hit .308 with four RBI and three runs, and played errorless defense. Petrocelli holds the fourth-best, all-time fielding percentage for third-basemen.
After a series of injuries, Petrocelli retired at the end of the 1976 season. In his career, Petrocelli hit 210 home runs with 773 RBI and 653 runs in 1553 games. He was inducted to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997.
Following his playing career, he has been involved with baseball as a minor league manager-coach and also in broadcasting. Petrocelli spent one year (1979) as a color commentator on Red Sox radio broadcasts and three years (1980–1983) hosting the TV game show Candlepins for Cash on WXNE Channel 25 in Boston, Massachusetts. The show had just moved from WNAC-TV, which had lost their Federal Communications Commission license, and incumbent host Bob Gamere was not available to continue hosting the show due to contract terms. In 1992 Petrocelli managed the Pawtucket Red Sox minor league baseball team, leading the club to the International League playoffs.
Petrocelli graduated from Sheepshead Bay High School in 1961.
By Dean Hanley
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