Samuel Joseph Dente (April 26, 1922 – April 21, 2002) was a shortstop in Major League Baseball who played for five different teams between 1947 and 1955. Listed at 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), 175 lb., Dente batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Harrison, New Jersey and played high school baseball at Kearny High School.
|Born: April 26, 1922|
Harrison, New Jersey
|Died: April 21, 2002 (aged 79)|
Montclair, New Jersey
|July 10, 1947, for the Boston Red Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 13, 1955, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Runs batted in||214|
A competent infielder and light-hitting batter, Dente was signed by the Boston Red Sox as a free agent in 1941, but almost immediately had to serve in the military during World War II. After discharge, he was a member of the 1946 Scranton Red Sox, a team that posted a 90–43 record in the Eastern League and ranks 90th in the Minor League Baseball all-time teams list. He appeared in 139 games, hitting a respectable .289 average with 77 RBI and eight stolen bases.
Dente reached the majors in 1947 with the Red Sox, playing for them one year before joining the St. Louis Browns (1948), Washington Senators (1949–1951), Chicago White Sox (1952–1953) and Cleveland Indians (1954–1955). His most productive years came with Washington, hitting a career-high .273 with 24 doubles and 53 RBI in 153 games during the 1949 season. In 1950 he posted career-numbers in games (155), runs (56), RBI (59) and extrabases (29), being considered in the American League MVP vote. As a member of the Indians, he served as a backup for George Strickland, appearing in 68 games for a team that won 111 games and advanced to the 1954 World Series. In three Series games, he went 0-for-3 with one run and a walk.
In a nine-season career, Dente was a .252 hitter with four home runs and 214 RBI in 745 games, including 205 runs, 585 hits, 78 doubles, 16 triples, and nine stolen bases. A patient hitter and very hard to strike out, he averaged one strikeout for every 24.16 at-bats (96-to-2320).
- Dente was sent by the Red Sox to the Washington Senators in the same transaction that brought Ellis Kinder to Boston. After that, the slogan "We'll win plenty with Dente" circulated through the stands at Griffith Stadium early in the 1950 season when the club led the American League, but a short time after that the rhyme became more popular than the player.
- Dente is the grandfather of current Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello.