SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants announced Thursday that Joseph (Joe) Zito, father of pitcher Barry Zito, died Wednesday at his home in Van Nuys. He was 84.

Zito released a statement in the wake of his father's death, as did Giants president and CEO Larry Baer. The pitcher often cited his father's influence on his life and on his baseball career.

When Barry Zito was developing as a young pitcher, Joe Zito once hired former Cy Young winner Randy Jones to teach his son. The elder Zito had a lengthy musical background, and once was Nat King Cole's conductor and arranger.

Barry Zito and his father Joe are all smiles pior the game against Philadelphia on Saturday morning at the Oakland in 2005.
Barry Zito and his father Joe are all smiles pior the game against Philadelphia on Saturday morning at the Oakland in 2005.

"The loss of my father, Joseph Zito, has presented me with a difficulty I could not predict," Zito said in his statement. "Through his unprecedented dedication as a father, he instilled in me the faculties which have enabled me to handle all of life's challenges in a positive way. He will forever be in my heart. God bless my father, and I know that one day I will be reunited with he and my mother Roberta."

Zito still is scheduled to pitch in his spot on Saturday against the Miami Marlins.

"The Giants organization was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Barry's father, Joesph Zito," said Baer in the Giants' official statement. "The special relationship that Barry and his dad shared showed so many of us in the Giants family how special the bond between a father and son can be. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Barry, his wife Amber and his sisters, Bonnie and Sally."



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