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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Ken Silvestri saw time in eight ML seasons; In between, he fought in World War II; Also coached

Ken Silvestri 1990 Watertown Indians card

Ken Silvestri saw time in eight major league seasons - three before World War II and five after.

In between, he joined the Army and fought in the South Pacific, The Winston-Salem Sentinel wrote in 1955.

"I was a first sergeant," Silvestri recounted to The Sentinel as he prepared to helm the single-A Winston-Salem Twins, naming multiple landings in which he took part. "I was pretty lucky. Nothing happened to me to halt my baseball career and I was able to rejoin the Yankees in 1946."

Silvestri was also able to continue on in his baseball career, and return to the majors as a coach. He then continued coaching almost until his passing in 1992 at the age of 75.

Silvestri's long career in baseball began in 1936, signed by the White Sox as a free agent out of Perdue University.

Silvestri started at Class D Rayne. He made AA St. Paul for 1938 and then debuted with the White Sox in 1939. He saw 22 games in Chicago that year, then 28 there in 1940.

For 1941, he moved to the Yankees and saw 17 games. He then joined the Army, enlisting in 1942. After the war, he returned to the Yankees, seeing 13 games there in 1946 and three more in 1947.

He arrived with the Phillies for 1949 and saw four games that year, 11 in 1950 and four final games in 1951. Overall, be saw 102 major league games in his war-shortened career and hit .217.

Silvestri saw playing time in the minors through 1957, while also coaching and managing.

In 1955, as he started the year as the Winston-Salem manager, he saw his team coming together, The Sentinel wrote.

"I think we're going to do alright," Silvestri told The Sentinel. "We've got a bunch of boys who are going to hustle."

Then, in 1959, he returned to the majors, with the Phillies as an assistant coach watching over the bullpen. Phils manager Eddie Sawyer explained the hire to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

"I have one of the best men I know to handle my bullpen," Sawyer told The Inquirer. "That's Ken Silvestri, who was with me before. I think he'll fix up the bullpen and I'll let him run it. That's why I brought him back."

Silvestri then served as bullpen coach for the Braves from 1963 to 1975, then is credited as pitching coach for the White Sox in 1976 and 1982. In between, he served in the minors. His last credited time in the pros was in 1990, at short-season Watertown. 

Ken Silvestri 1990 Watertown Indians card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,223
Made the Majors:1,385-32.8%-X
Never Made Majors:2,838-67.2%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:562
10+ Seasons in the Minors:345

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