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Friday, February 14, 2014

Whatever Happened To ... Antonelli Tire Co.?

I once attended a punkdrunk wedding up in Binghamton, NY and sorta came to in an Antonelli Tire Co’s parking lot.

He was arguably the best major leaguer to come from Rochester, but generations might have known Johnny Antonelli better from his post-baseball career.

The Jefferson High School graduate and World Series hero owned a tire business that expanded to 28 shops throughout New York state. He went from the pitcher’s rubber to pitching rubber tires and, for years, was the exclusive Firestone tire dealer in the area.

“I started the business with my World Series money,” Antonelli said from his home in Pittsford. He won the 1954 World Series while pitching for the New York Giants. The payout was a whopping $8,750, and, Antonelli said, “You could start a business then with $8,750.”

...Superstar teammate Willie Mays once commented to Antonelli about his success. Antonelli set up a meeting between Mays and Firestone officials, with plans for Mays to open tire stores in Oakland. All went well until the Firestone people asked Mays to put up a $25,000 start-up fee. The story is recounted in the book Johnny Antonelli A Baseball Memoir, by Antonelli and Scott Pitoniak.

“Willie, who was making $125,000 at the time, was taken aback,” Antonelli writes in the book. ” ‘Willie Mays doesn’t come up with any money,’ he said. And that was that … It’s too bad Willie didn’t make the investment because those stores became very profitable, and Willie would have made millions.”

...Antonelli got out of the tire business in 1994. He had become frustrated with Bridgestone, the company that bought out Firestone, and called it quits.

“We decided we were just spinning our wheels,” Antonelli said, no pun intended. “We decided to get out of the business.”

Repoz Posted: February 14, 2014 at 10:56 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants, history

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   1. boteman asks Where's My Ring? Posted: February 14, 2014 at 11:44 PM (#4657231)
Charlie Donovan: "Johnny, how would you like to manage the Indians this year?"

Antonelli: "Ohhhh, I don't know."

Donovan: "What do you mean 'You don't know'? This is a chance to manage in the big leagues!"

Antonelli: "Let me think it over will ya, Charlie? I got a guy on the other line about some whitewalls. I'll talk to ya later."
   2. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: February 15, 2014 at 01:02 AM (#4657238)
First thing I thought of, too.
   3. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 15, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4657296)
When I saw the headline, I was expecting a Buzzcocks reference from Repoz in the lead-in.
   4. AndrewJ Posted: February 15, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4657343)
There was an Antonelli Tires in the upstate NY town I grew up in during the 1980s -- they offered 8"x10" glossies of Antonelli from his days with the Giants as a promotion.
   5. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 15, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4657355)
When I saw the headline, I was expecting a Buzzcocks reference from Repoz in the lead-in.

No. This is about auto tires, and single treads don't go as steady.
   6. Publius Publicola Posted: February 15, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4657408)
The bartender who served billy Martin and the driver of the pickup truck Martin died in the night they crashed worked at antonelli tire.

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