Here are some thoughts by Stan Pitula's Hackensack High School catcher Ted Sellarole:

I caught a lot of pitchers in High School and semi pro ball and Stan by far was the easiest and best pitcher I ever caught. I could have sat in a rocking chair and caught him. I could have been waving to people in the stands and if we were throwing the ball up and in the ball would be there. His fastball had a lot of life and movement and his curve was great. We would set guys up and throw the curve and guys would just buckle at the knees. We would both laugh to our selves because sometimes guys would fall down. He had a real good confident cocky baseball attitude. The kind you need when you make it. The only time I had a problem with him was when I first started catching him he shook me off on the pitch to throw about four times in a row. Carl Padovano called time and told him to go with the pitch I called and just pitch. After that no problem he was by far the easiest and best pitcher and all around ball player I ever played with. He hit one of the farthest homers I saw hit in Hackensack High School. He hit a ball to the far end of the bleachers that used to be out there in left center when they played at the high school.

When he signed after high school he could have signed with any team, but his dad was helping him and didn't listen to anyone. He really needed a professional agent. The Indians were the worst team he could have signed with. They had Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, and Early Wynn, and Mike Garcia. It was the best staff in baseball. He could have started for probably 14 out of the 16 teams in the majors then. When he came back from the service, he was trying to get the Indians to release him or trade him, but the Indians wouldn't do it. There was just no way, he could break that pitching staff they won 111 games in 1954. The story always was he threw his arm out pitching to Yogi Berra.

After he came home he played, but the guys on the team would kind of needle him because he wasn't that good any more because his arm was hurt. He finally stopped playing and then his wife, who was there when he was on top, didn't want to deal with him when he was just a regular guy. He was a hard guy to get close to though, he always put up a good front started drinking a lot towards the end and hanging
out at bars.

I always remember I was building two houses on Jackson Avenue in Hackensack and I needed some sheet metal so I went to the shop in town and there was Stan. I hadn't seen him in awhile and he was real upbeat. He always put up a good front and everything but I remember looking at his hands and saying to myself this is no place for you with grease and dirt under your finger nails. I got my metal and left but I have always regretted not going back and telling him I would help him get a real estate license or something and get him out of there. He just didn't belong there. I wish I had gone to a different shop to get the metal maybe I wouldn't think about that from time to time because he committed suicide shortly after that.

Sal Meli who grew up with Stan said he had been talking about suicide for about a month before he died, and some of the guys had gotten Carl Padovano to talk to him, who had been his High School coach. All seemed ok and then tragedy struck and the memory seems to never fade for some.

Written by:
Bob Meli
July 27, 2008