Thursday, November 6, 2008

Keepin' It In the Family...Lawrenceville's Sadowski Boys

Ed, Ted, and Bob Sadowski were part of a twelve kid clan raised in Lawrenceville in the thirties and forties. Both of their parents were Polish immigrants, and their dad worked in a steel mill until his death, when Bob, the baby of the family, was 12-years old.

But there must have been something special about growing up in that Allegheny River neighborhood, rough and tumble as it was. The three brothers all made it to MLB. They became one of only 18 families to claim a trio or better of major league siblings. Ed and Ted made the show in 1960; Bob joined them three years later.

Ed, born on January 19, 1931, caught for the Boston Red Sox (1960), Los Angeles Angels (1961-63) and Atlanta Braves (1966).

He was 29-years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 20, 1960, with the Boston Red Sox. Ed served as a backup catcher for Russ Nixon in Boston; Earl Averill and Buck Rodgers with the original Angels, and Joe Torre in Atlanta.

In 1963 he appeared in a career-high 80 games and collected four home runs with 24 runs and 15 RBI, also career-numbers. He played his last game on October, 1966. In his five seasons, Sadowski was a .202 hitter with 12 home runs and 39 RBI in 217 games.

After he hung up the spikes, he worked as a pitching coach for the Montreal Expos. He retired from baseball in 1970, and became a phys ed teacher in California. He died in Garden Grove on November 6, 1993 at age of 62, after battling ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease.

Ted, born on April 1, 1936, was a RH relief pitcher who played for the Washington Senators (1960) and Minnesota Twins (1961-62). In a three MLB seasons, he posted a 2-3 record with a 5.76 ERA and one save in 43 games.

He died in Shaler Township on July 18, 1993 at the age of 57, and is buried in Allegheny Cemetery.

Bob Sadowski was born on February 19, 1938. The RH pitcher both started and worked as a long man.

He was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as a free agent in 1958, then was traded to the Milwaukee Braves along with Gene Oliver for Lew Burdette in 1963. His most productive season came in 1964, when he posted career-highs in wins (9), games pitched (51), starts (18), saves (5) and innings (166-2/3).

Bob was the last Braves starting pitcher in their final home opener in Milwaukee, beating the Chicago Cubs 5–1 on April 15, 1965. He pitched his final major league season for the BoSox in 1966.

In four years (1963-66), Sadowski had a 20-27 record with a 3.87 ERA, eight saves, and 257 strikeouts in 115 games (54 as a starter).

It would have been a story-book tale if they had played for the hometown team. Well, Ed, Ted, and Bob didn't, but the Sadowski's story doesn't end with them.

Nephew Jim, born on August 7th, 1951, inherited the same genes. He played ball for Lawrenceville's Ninth Ward Baseball Association as a kid under the tutelage of legendary youth coach John "Baldy" McGrane Sr., and went on to star at nearby Central Catholic High.

The Bucs signed him in 1970, and he got to do what his uncles didn't - pitch for the Pirates. It wasn't exactly an All-Star career. He only stayed in the show for three weeks. But it was enough time for him to fulfill the Sadowski destiny.

He made his debut on April 27 at Three Rivers Stadium. "I realized the dream of pitching for the hometown team," Sadowski proudly told

After appearing in four games in 1974 (0-1, 6.00 ERA), he was back riding the bus for the farm systems of the Bucs, Reds and Royals. By 1978, in his ninth year in pro ball, he knew that it was time call on his old Viking sheepskin and return to the books.

He got his degree, and has been in banking and finance for the past three decades. But that brief spell with the Pirates lit a long-time flame within him.

Sadowski was buds with Nellie Briles, who was the head of the Pirate Alumni Association, and became a regular member of the club. Then, in 2005, while Jim was golfing with Briles, Nellie passed away on the course. The alumni reins were turned over to Sadowski.

So he's using that font of financial knowledge to raise some bucks for the alumni cause, youth baseball and clinics. And if a kid from Lawrenceville with a pedigree a mile long can't turn the lives of hometown children around - and hey, maybe even get one or two to dream big-league dreams like he did - then baseball is done in this town. We're betting it isn't.

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