One of six children (three boys and three girls) raised in the athletic family2 of Philip Tsitouris and Verla Mae Rowell, John Philip Tsitouris was born on May 4, 1936, in Monroe, North Carolina, 35 miles southeast of Charlotte.
John’s father emigrated from Greece as a young man.
A quiet student, John let his baseball abilities do his talking at Benton Heights High School.
He also excelled in American Legion play and semi-pro ball with the Monroe Blue Sox.
In 1926 he married into the Rowell family with Carolina roots dating before the Civil War.
Philip and Verla found success with the ownership of at least two restaurants in Monroe.
From manager Don Heffner’s perspective, hurler John Tsitouris drew favorable comparisons to Hall of Famer Red Ruffing because “when you sent him out to the mound, you knew he was going to give you a good job.”1 Splendid likeness for a pitcher with a lifetime 34-38 record.
Tsitouris’s tantalizing ability caused teams to continually try to corral the gifted right-hander over the course of his 11-year major-league career.
He was the team’s only pitcher to advance to the major leagues.
He began the 1956 season in Terre Haute, Indiana, until the Class B affiliate folded, and followed manager Bill Norman to Augusta, Georgia, in the South Atlantic League.