Tony Saladino

Episode 45

9 DEC 2019

Every year since 1981 a tournament has taken place to promote high school baseball in Hillsborough County (Tampa, Florida area).  It was first established as a memorial for Tony Saladino, Sr. and has grown from eleven public schools to now a 32-team event, with 38 players that have participated in the tournament having gone on to play in the Major Leagues, 12 of which were first round draft picks.  The guest on this episode of CSR has been at the heart of all of this for all those years and is a lifelong Catholic.

Guest quotes:

“I was born Catholic… And we tried to instill all the spiritual stuff to our kids, grandkids, and all the players in high schools in Hillsborough County.”

“I played recreation ball, high school baseball, metro league fast pitch softball, and semi-pro baseball.”

“Regarding our high school tournament, we schedule it no Sunday games, no Sunday practices.  It’s strictly for church.”

“We want to make it a cordial, family style, safe, nostalgic event each year.”

“We used to have a breakfast for all the players before the tournament started, and (the Fellowship of Christian Athletes) would bring in various speakers to give Christian messages.”

“(Fr. Tapp) comes to the tournament opening day, when available, does a blessing to the tournament… and gives a brief message to the kids.  And he’s awesome.  Big part of my life.”

“We’re just trying to take care of these high school kids to become caring and responsible citizens.”

“I start each day by reading a daily devotional… and my personal daily mission is to help others somehow, and attempt to motivate, influence, and inspire youth and adults to progress and improve and succeed in life using faith and family involvement.”

“I admire role models that exhibit and demonstrate family and family in their lives.”

“(I pray) that no one gets hurt, that everyone succeeds in life – not only in baseball but in life – and become caring and responsible citizens.”

Related link:

Saladino Baseball Tournament website

(This episode contains a prayer attributed to legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne, as seen in Play Like A Champion Today’s prayerbook for sports, God, Be In My Sport)