ROCCO GIMELLO was born January 8, 1889 in New Jersey. He lived in Camden, New Jersey for many, many years. His family was from Brindisi di Montagna, Potenza, Basilicata in Italy, and the family name was Ciammella, which, upon coming to America, was spelled phonetically as Gimello. Spelling being an inexact science in those times, he served in the United States Army during World War I as Rocco Jeamello.

The 1910 Census shows Rocco Gimello living with his mother Margaret and step-father Joseph Angelastro at 306 Spruce Street. Also at home were brothers John, Leonardo, and James Gimello, another child having died. Rocco, the oldest son worked as a laborer doing odd jobs.

When Rocco Gimello registered for the draft on June 5, 1917 he was living at 306 Spruce Street in Camden, New Jersey, where he was employed as a laborer at the Victor Talking Machine Company factory. It is interesting in that the registrar recorded his name as Geamello, but Rocco SIGNED his name Jeamello.

Rocco Gimello was enlisted into the United States Army on August 27, 1917 at Sea Girt, New Jersey. He was assigned to Company G, 114th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division and received training at Fort Dix, New Jersey and Camp McClellan at Anniston, Alabama. He went to France with his unit and was in combat in the Haute Alsace-Lorraine sector and the Meuse-Argonne sector from July through September of 1918, during which time he was engaged in five battles, and reached rank of Private First Class. PFC Gimello was honorably discharged at Fort Dix, New Jersey in May of 1919. 

Returning to Camden, Rocco Gimello took up residence with his brother John at 311 Chestnut Street, where he stayed for a few years, Also at that address was John's wife and children and a brother, Leonard Gimello. When the Census was taken in January of 1920 Rocco Gimello was working as a laborer in one of Camden's many shipyards. He also became active politically as a Democrat.

Rocco Gimello married his wife Catherine around 1924. By April of 1930 the family, which included son William and daughter Margaret, had moved to 270 Mount Vernon Street, where they still resided in the spring of 1942 when he registered for the draft. The 1930 census and 1942 draft records show him working with the Water Department of the City of Camden.

South Jersey baseball fans often recall some of the strong Camden City League baseball teams of the 30s and 40s. Rocco “Rox” Gimello molded some of the area’s best into a dynasty which lasted for more than a decade.

The Collegians dominated the city league from 1934 through 1937 winning four consecutive championships in a league that boasted many former and future minor and major league players. Al Bass, Grover “Worm” Wearshing, Bill Narleski, Walt Nowak, Paul Bearint, Hank Frett, Dick Errickson, Jim McQueston, Williard Bisbing, Billy Denof, Tom McLaughlin, Norm Selby, Eddie Novak, Mike and Nick Curcio were names familiar to any baseball fan in the tri-state area.

The Second World War left many teams short of talent but the Collegians, who were sharing their players with the Eastern Pennsylvania League, began taking on some of the strongest of the Negro National League teams in exhibition matches, beating the Homestead Grays with Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, and Satchel Paige. Highlight of one match was Hank Frett striking out Josh Gibson 3 times. The Baltimore Elite Giants, St. Louis Stars, Newark Eagles and Georgia Crackers were among some of the clubs passing through the Delaware Valley who also felt the sting of defeat at the hands of Gimello’s Collegians.

Rox was instrumental in having lights installed at the Broadway and Everett Street field in South Camden and opened the new era of night baseball in June 1946. Many of Gimello’s players went on to play for several years on other Delaware Valley teams. He would be most proud of the dozen or more players who preceded him into the South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame.

Rocco Gimello retired from managing after the 1947 season, turning the reins over to team captain, John Salvatore. At that time he and wife Catherine were still living at 270 Mount Vernon Street. He was then working as a mechanic. He stayed involved in sports as business manager of the Zuni Athletic Association football team in the late 1940s.

Rocco Gimello moved to 5026 Garden Avenue in Pennsauken NJ in the 1960s before passing away on September 21, 1976. He survived by his wife Catherine, who died in May of 1990, his daughter Margaret L., and his son William S. Gimello.

Rocco "Rox" Gimello was inducted into the South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame on November 29, 2003.

Philadelphia Inquirer - June 14, 1916
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Roman Catholic Church
Sam Lennox - Rocco Gimello - Edgar "Eggie" Lennox

World War I Draft Card

Army Discharge
Click on Image to Enlarge

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 14, 1919
George Kleinheinz - George Fisher - Samuel M. Shay -
Edward J. Kelleher - Rocco Gimello - John T. Cleary
William Schmid - Joseph Keefe - Frank Homan

Camden Post 980
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Undated Photo - 1920s-1930s
Click on Image to Enlarge


February 20, 1928

Fifth Ward Republican Club
Kaighn Avenue

Bernard Bertman
Leonard Brehm
John Carroll
George Cotter - Charles H. Elfreth
Kirby Garwood -
Rox Gimello
Theodore Kausel
William Kensler - George W. Nichols
Winfield S. Price
Leo B. Rea - Clay W. Reesman
David S. Rhone - Harley C. Shinn

Camden Courier-Post * August 28, 1935


Rox Gimello - "Greeny" Czubas - Frank Kulesa
Elmer Loeble - Peppsoski - Crane -Sharkey
James - Dyjak - Pawela - Jakucki
Gorski - Mulik - Blaker - Saul
P. Delfing - J. Delfing - Bowers
Heppert - Sehllpot - Hill
Corrado - Sviben - McNameee
Scarduzio - Jackson - Forrester - Powell - Colsey
Gould - Howard - Ford - Phillips - Tillman
Warren - Jones - Baynard - Ricco


Camden Courier-Post * August 29, 1935

Rox Gimello - Jim McGinness - Porky Hoffman - Lou Bobo - Joe Tully - Billy Denof - Ott Laxton

World War I I Draft Card

Catherine Gimello, William Gimello, 
& Rox Gimello

May 1957
Catherine Gimello  & Rox Gimello