Oct. 24, 2011
Legendary Siena baseball coach Tony Rossi will be inducted into the Capital Region Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class in a ceremony Sunday, November 6. Rossi will begin his 43rd season at Siena after the spring, and is the winningest coach in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference history in any sport.
The induction ceremony will be held at the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Albany from 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $75.00 per person and can be purchased by calling 518-877-5170 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The inaugural class also includes former Saints Billy Harrell '52 and Gary Holle '76. Both reached the highest level of professional baseball, with Harrell playing for the Cleveland Indians and Holle the Texas Rangers.
Rossi is the second longest tenured active Division I head coach in the nation behind only Augie Garrido of Texas (44 years). He has defined Siena baseball over the years, building it from a Division II team with 10 players to a championship Division I program with 24 scholarship student-athletes.
Over the past four decades, he has coached 35 players who have gone on to sign professional contracts and three who have reached the highest level (Holle, Tim Christman '01 and John Lannan '07-Pres.). With the addition of baseball scholarships, Rossi has been able to recruit against the top programs in the country. This past season Rossi's Saints reached the MAAC Championship game for the second time in four years, led by the MAAC's home run king Dan Paolini, who signed with the Seattle Mariners after being drafted in the 10th Round of the June MLB Draft.
Skip (as he is affectionately known) has guided the Saints to a 275-212 (.562) record in the conference. Over the past 20 seasons, he has been named MAAC Coach of the Year six times: 1991, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001 and most recently in 2005. Rossi has also coached four MAAC Rookies of the Year and five MAAC Players of the Year. Over this time, Siena has captured four MAAC regular-season titles and four MAAC Tournament championships.
Prior to 1999 there was only one step left for the Siena baseball program to take - qualifying for the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. That feat was accomplished by the 1999 Saints, who finished the year 21-5 in the MAAC, and swept through the MAAC Tournament out-scoring their opponents 35-7.
In 2006, Rossi earned his milestone 600th career win. Rossi has been elected to the Siena Sports Hall of Fame (1985) and the Albany Twilight League (1985) Hall of Fame. He is a 1965 graduate of Brockport State College (now the College at Brockport), where he excelled in baseball for three seasons, earning SUNY All-Star each year. In 1964, he had the highest batting average (.477) in the East.
Rossi and his wife, Val, live in Schenectady and have two children, Scott and Kristen.