The name might not sound familiar, but Santino “Santy” Gallone was a man worthy of respect and remembrance.
Gallone, 37, was one of seven people who died in Saturday’s crane accident in New York City. He was moonlighting from his regular construction job when the Manhattan crane collapsed.
The body of the former Spartanburg Phillie was pulled from the rubble Monday afternoon.
Gallone, a Long Island, N.Y., native, played 103 games in 1994 for the former Class-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. He batted .282 with six home runs and 37 RBIs. Prior to that, Gallone enjoyed a memorable four-year stint as the starting second baseman for Fordham College. He still holds school records for hits (222), at-bats (601), total bases (354) and most times hit by a pitch (42).
Those who knew him said Gallone was a determined baseball player, skilled worker and loving husband and father.
“Santy had that persona, the kind of guy who could just take over a room,” said Ray Montgomery, who roomed with Gallone at Fordham, in an article on milb.com. “He would light up any room he entered. He could make people laugh. He was brash, confident, an Italian from the Island, all that good stuff.
“He was an incredibly hard-working kid, and he made our apartment great. He lived and died baseball and was just a damn good ballplayer.”
And he was also a renowned ping-pong player. During his stint in Spartanburg, Gallone reportedly hustled his teammates in games of table tennis.
Shane Pallotta, a longtime friend, told Newsday, “(Gallone) was this slick athletic type that was always holding court.”
Gallone signed as a free agent with the Phillies organization in 1994. He spent the one season in Spartanburg and then played 90 games for Class-A Clearwater (Fla.) in 1995.
A shoulder injury ended his baseball career.
Gallone is survived by his wife, Jessica, and 18-month-old daughter Giuliana.
“I am very proud of my son and all that he accomplished in his life,” Nino Gallone told Newsday about his son. “He did so many good things. And he was so happy to be a father.”