Pat Santarone selected to MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame

Late Orioles Head Groundskeeper Pat Santarone has today been named one of the newest members of the Major League Baseball Groundskeepers Hall of Fame.

Santarone joined the Orioles as Head Groundskeeper in 1969, spending 22 seasons tending the grounds at Memorial Stadium before retiring on Opening Day in 1991. During his tenure, Baltimore infielders won a total of 25 AL Gold Gloves, while the Orioles captured five American League pennants and won two World Series titles (1970, 1983).

Santarone began his career at age 23 with Class-A Elmira, taking over the field from his father, Val Santarone. During the 1960’s with Elmira as the Orioles Double-A affiliate, Santarone worked with future Orioles manager and Hall of Famer Earl Weaver. The two reunited in Baltimore, where they shared a fondly-remembered annual tomato growing competition. Santarone spent retirement in Montana and passed away in May of 2008.

Santarone and Pete Flynn of the New York Mets will be inducted the evening of January 11 at Coors Field in Denver, joining previous inductees Emil Bossard (Indians), George Toma (Royals), Joe Mooney (Red Sox), Dick Ericson (Twins), and Harry Gil (Brewers) in the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame.

To be considered for induction to the Major League Baseball Groundskeepers Hall of Fame, a person must have ceased employment in the profession for at least five years, and have made a significant contribution to groundskeeping and/or the sports turf industry at the Major League level. An individual’s impact on the community is also considered. Nominees are submitted to the MLB Groundskeepers Association for a vote. Each team has one vote, and a nominee must receive 75 percent of the vote of all active association members to be elected.