Pat Santarone


April 21, 2007|By Jacques Kelly

It's too early for former Orioles groundskeeper Pasquale "Pat" Santarone to put in his tomato plants. After leaving Baltimore and his old turf at Memorial Stadium in 1991, he has been living in the Rockies in Hamilton, Mont. - elevation, 4,000 feet.

The grass in his valley is now green, but a storm this week deposited fresh snow on the Sapphire Range a mile from his home. He lives there with his English-born wife, Pam, whom he married after his wife, Delores, died in a 1998 automobile accident.

"It's peaceful and quiet here, with very little crime or drugs - and no parking meters and few traffic lights," he reports. "I miss Maryland, the crabs, the good food and a lot of great friends.

"I'm 78 and still climbing the mountains," said Santarone, who was with the Orioles organization for 23 consecutive seasons - and made a name for himself by growing tomatoes along the left-field line. He also made his own wine and won several cooking competitions.

"I spend time with Earl Weaver," he said of the former manager who remains a close friend. "I played golf with him and stayed at his house in Florida three months ago."

Santarone likes the outdoors and what he calls "the best hunting in the whole United States."

When asked about his tomato-planting plans, he notes: "You act very quickly. We don't have much summer here."

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