Mark Lemongello 1978 Topps – Second Sully Baseball Card of the Day for March 16, 2016


For some reason my post I wrote for March 15 and Eric Byrnes was deleted and lost for all time. So if you are keeping score at home, you would be under the impression that I did not write a Card of the Day.

Please… like I would miss a day.

Now I have to rewrite the Eric Byrnes post but to keep things equal in the universe, I will do a second Card of the Day post for today.

It is an oldy but goodie as Mark Lemongello is here with his orange uniform, orange hat and orange hair in all of its glory.

On Episode 1,281 of the Daily Podcast, I broke down the insane tale of Mark Lemongello and his cousin Peter Lemongello.

Lemongello (pronounced le MAHHHNJ uh low) was a solid prospect in the Astros organization in the mid 1970’s who earned a call up in 1976.

Also in 1976, his cousin Peter was trying to make a mark (no pun intended) as a soft rock crooner. He was ahead of the curve with an infomercial for his album that was supposed to skyrocket him to stardom.

By 1977 Peter made a few TV appearances and Mark was throwing 200 plus innings for the Astros.

But Mark’s temper (as shown in the YouTube clip below) would get the better of him. And while he was good for 210 1/3 innings in 1978 and a decent 3.94 ERA, he was wearing out his welcome on a rising Houston team. He was dealt to Toronto for Alan Ashby before the 1979 season.

And Peter’s sales dropped and he wound up in the Real Estate world in Florida.

Mark’s time in Toronto was short and his career ended in the minors. That’s when things got strange.

Peter’s real estate dealings were more than shady. He was put on probation for charges like arson and insurance fraud and bribery.

Then in 1982, Peter and his brother Mike, a professional bowler, were forced at gun point by a pair of kidnappers into a van and forced to withdraw $50,000 in cash.

Guess who one of the kidnappers was?

Yup. Former Astros pitcher Mark Lemongello.

It became clear that there was some connection to Peter’s debts to insurance companies but in the end, the heat fell on Mark who pleaded no contest and was put on probation and no doubt had very awkward family barbecues.

So let’s review. A corny 1970’s crooner turned Florida real estate arsonist was kidnapped along with his professional bowler brother by his cousin, a former major league pitcher with a temper.

Pretty normal eh?

First enjoy the news clipping…


Enjoy Mark’s meltdown in Wrigley

Enjoy the crooning infomercial by Peter Lemongello

And enjoy the podcast episode originally posted on April 26, 2016.

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – April 26, 2016

IMG_3650This is Mark Lemongello’s 1978 Topps card. It has always been one of my favorite cards ever.

Little did I know that Mark’s story went from being an obscure pitcher for the Astros to being part of a caper that included his crooning 70’s singer cousin Peter Lemongello, arson and robbery.

It is a “Truth is WAY stranger than fiction” episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast

Please enjoy Peter Lemongello and his Love 76 commercial.

And please enjoy Mark Lemongello losing his damn mind.

Nathan Eovaldi, Jeff Locke, Miguel Cabrera, Jean Segura, Julio Teheran, Michael Saunders and Jeremy Hazelbaker all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball yesterday.

See the updated listing of WOB on MLB Reports

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