You know, sometimes no matter how much you contribute to a group or organization, how much you gave, how much people liked you…the march of time moves in a giant it’s all about me wave.

The sad news came this afternoon about the death of longtime, legendary O’s groundskeeper Pat Santarone. I got to know Pat in the 80s, after doing a couple of stories with him for Evening Magazine, now also long gone. The title of our story, “A Man Outstanding in his Field”! We thought it rather clever….And he was outstanding, of course. He liked the grass cut just so, and would shape the mound however the starting pitcher that night, liked it. And he grew fabulous tomatoes, and made some of his own wine ( which was very good, by the way), a real Italian man…good looking too, it must be said. He would even give me the hard to find morel mushrooms, when the season came around. He had a secret growing place somewhere…he would never tell me  from whence they cometh.

Just an altogether lovely man, so it was with sadness that many of us received the news that Pat had died at the age of 79 in Montana. I didn’t know he had moved there, but I hope the final years of his life were rich and rewarding…like when I knew him.

picBut here’s the kicker. I just typed in Pat’s name on the Orioles website to see if they had some pictures or video, or something about him. You see what came back. No history of his 28 years with the club, no nuttin’. No results found.

A sad statement, no, let’s make that a tragic statement, about the O’s today, but Pat Santarone will certainly be fondly remembered by those who knew him well, and those of us who were lucky to know him a little. Godspeed, Pat.


4 Responses

  1. Donna,

    It seems as though the Orioles always treat their history as such. It is amazing how an organization in a town with such great baseball history never is able to do the right thing. Thanks for the info about Mr. Santarone. Montana is a gorgeous place and I am sure he enjoyed his retirement there.

  2. Donna,

    Oh how I agree with you and with Wes’ assessment of the Orioles of today. I had as much fun listening to “Chuck and Bill” and the later broadcasters (who really could top them?) talk about the legendary tomato plant contests with Pat and Earl and about how “perfect” good old Memorial Stadium’s field was.

    I have long lost interest in baseball and the Orioles. Just not the same, it’s too much of a business now, just not fun and enjoyable. I sent an email to someone today when I heard about it, another vestige of the glorious days of my youth and Baltimore Baseball has passed on. Makes me sad and angry that once one of the classiest organizations in baseball has become a sore on the butt of the game.

  3. Donna,
    Unfortunately I have to agree with the folks here, too. It never used to be this way, but the treatment of our Orioles’ history (and our hometown “legends”) leaves much to be desired. I remember as a kid and as a young adult, the adoration that fans had for our O’s and the devotion to the “Oriole Way”. Those days are sadly long-gone.

    I also remember the tomato patch rivalry between Earl and Pat. Those days, and Mr. Santarone, are to be greatly missed. Too bad the present attitude is that it is about $$$. No wonder so many people are tired of professional sports and the big-headed behavior from those involved in it!

  4. Donna,
    Thanks so much for the kind words about my Uncle, Pat Santarone. He was certainly one-of-a-kind and the world is poorer place without him. Some of my strongest memories were of visiting “his” ballpark when I was a kid, when my family would travel to see him in Baltimore. Pat was very happy in Montana (Hamilton, MT, as coincidence would have it), I believe and although I didn’t get to see him often in recent years, he kept in frequent contact with my mother. At the funeral, I spoke with a friend who had played golf with Pat the day he died. He said “he beat me again, he always beat me”. I understand that after golf and lawn work, he had dinner (with wine, of course) and retired early, then passing away in his sleep. If you knew Pat, you’d know that some golf, some groundskeeping and some good wine with one of his meals was the best things in life, he passed away as satisfied as he ever was.
    Thanks again,
    -Joel Santarone
    Boise, ID

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