Induction year: 1998
Born (date, year, place): August 11, 1911 in Rome, Italy
Died (date, year, place): February 28, 1992 in Toronto, Ontario
Primary Position: Builder
Born near Rome, Italy, Ron Roncetti came to Toronto with his parents when he was eight months old. Settling with his family near Elizabeth Street in downtown Toronto, he developed a passion for baseball and starred as a center fielder for the Toronto Lizzies during the 1920s. Canadian Baseball Hall of Famers Carmen Bush and Goody Rosen were among his Lizzies teammates. The fleet-footed outfielder moved on to toil with the Wellington Juniors and Eastern Athletic Club in Toronto in the 1930s, before becoming one of Toronto’s top amateur coaches.
In the late 1940s, Roncetti created and founded the Leaside Baseball Assocation. Under his leadership, Leaside became a powerhouse on the Toronto baseball scene. Starting in 1953, Roncetti led Leaside teams to four consecutive city championships at the juvenile and junior levels. Among Roncetti’s Leaside graduates were Ron Taylor, Frank Mahovlich and Pete Conacher. In 1957, Roncetti returned to the Lizzies and managed their senior team to city championships in 1958 and 1960.
In 1954, Roncetti began moonlighting as a scout for the International League’s Toronto Maple Leafs (Triple A affiliate of Chicago White Sox). A respected and passionate voice for Canadian talent, Roncetti soon found himself scouting for the big league White Sox, before landing similar gigs with the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos. In 1973, he began a long scouting affiliation with the New York Mets that would see him rewarded with a 1986 World Series ring. In his final scouting stint, he evaluated talent for the Toronto Blue Jays. In the spring of 1987, Talbot Park in Toronto’s Leaside region was renamed Taylor-Roncetti Field, in honour of Ron Taylor and Roncetti.