1. Justin Verlander
At the top of the list, coming in at number 14, is Justin Verlander. The starting pitcher for the Houston Astros, has had a storied career that has included multiple Cy Young awards and World Series championships. He is widely regarded as one of the best pitchers of his generation, and his continued success is a testament to his skill and dedication to the game. Verlander’s maternal grandmother is of Italian heritage.
2. J.T. Realmuto
A catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, J.T. Realmuto came in as number 29. Realmuto has established himself as one of the premier catchers in the game, and has earned two All-Star selections and two Gold Glove awards. He is known for his defensive prowess behind the plate as well as his ability to hit for power and batting average. Both of his parents are of Sicilian descent.
3. Pete Alonso
Next on the list at number 31 is Pete Alonso, a first baseman for the New York Mets. Alonso burst onto the scene in 2019, setting a rookie record with 53 home runs which lead to winning the National League Rookie of the Year award. He has continued to produce at a high level, hitting 40 home runs in 2022 and earning his second All-Star selection. Alonso’s grandmother is from Calabria.
4. Gerrit Cole
At number 37 is Gerrit Cole, a starting pitcher for the New York Yankees. Cole signed a record-breaking contract with the Yankees prior to the 2020 season and has lived up to the expectations, earning two All-Star selections and finishing in the top five in Cy Young voting in both 2020 and 2021. He is known for his elite velocity and ability to dominate opposing hitters. Cole’s mother is Calabrese.
5. Brandon Nimmo
Brandon Nimmo, a left fielder for the New York Mets, comes in at number 54 on the list. Nimmo has been a consistent contributor to the Mets since his debut in 2016. His personal career-high, hitting 16 home runs in 2022. Nimmo’s maternal grandmother was in Italy, and represented her by playing for Italy in the World Baseball Classic.
6. Anthony Rizzo
Anthony Rizzo, a first baseman for the New York Yankees, comes in at number 74 on the list. Rizzo is a three-time All-Star and a World Series champion, known for his solid defense and ability to hit for both power and batting average. He has a key part of the Cubs’ championship in 2016. Rizzo’s great-grandfather is from Ciminna, Sicily.
7. Aaron Nola
At number 79 is Aaron Nola, a starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. Nola has emerged as one of the top pitchers in the National League, earning two All-Star selections and finishing in the top ten Cy Young voting in each of the past three seasons. He is known for his command and ability to generate swings and misses with his devastating curveball. Nola is of Italian descent from his great-grandparents who emigrated to Baton Rouge from Sicily.
8. Joe Musgrove
Finally, at number 96 on the list is Joe Musgrove. A starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres, Musgrove made history in 2021 when he threw the first no-hitter in Padres franchise history. He has been a solid contributor in the Padres’ rotation and will look to build on his success in 2023. Musgrove has Italian descent and represents it by wearing his cornicello during games.
Celebrating the Legacy of Italian Americans in Baseball
All of these Italian American players have made significant contributions to the game of baseball. They are among the best players in the world and serve as role models for young Italian Americans. As the 2023 season gets underway, it will be exciting watching these players represent Italian heritage as well as serve as a reminder of the important role that Italian Americans have played in the history of baseball.