Baseball enthusiasts from Niagara County have long been a fan of one of their favorite sons, Sal Maglie. Born in Niagara Falls in 1917, Maglie’s Major League baseball career stretched for more than a decade from 1945 to 1958. Many remember Maglie as, “Sal the Barber,” because he pitched inside to batters, often giving them a “close shave,” right below their chins. He is also remembered, in part, for his “cold as death” gaze that he used on the mound. Many a batter wished they could crawl under home plate instead of facing his “blood curdling” stare.
Maglie had the distinction of being one of only a handful of ball players who played for all three New York City baseball teams, the New York Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees. As an ace pitcher, Maglie’s career record of 119 wins and 62 loses placed him in line with Hall of Fame pitchers Dizzy Dean and Sandy Koufax. His record season of 23-6 carried the New York Giants past the Brooklyn Dodgers in their legendary 1951 season. On September 25, 1956, at the age of 39, he became the oldest pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the major leagues in a defeat against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Maglie retired as a pitcher in 1958 after playing with the Giants, Dodgers, Yankees, Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals. Even after his formal retirement, Sal continued in the field and was the pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox when they won the American League pennant in 1967. Even though Maglie’s window of opportunity to be selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame passed without the honor being bestowed, Niagara Falls stood by “Sal the Barber,” as one their favorite sports heroes. In 1982, with what many considered a long overdue tribute, Sal Maglie was honored with a testimonial dinner attended by over 1,000 fans. To add to the celebration, the Niagara Falls City Council honored Sal by renaming Hyde Park Stadium as Sal Maglie Stadium. He also received a lifetime pass for all the games played there. Maglie later described the event as the greatest day in his life.
Douglas Farley, Director
Ann Marie Linnabery
Erie Canal Discover Center
24 Church St.
Lockport NY 14094