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.
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