Pete Flynn of Mets and Pat Santarone of Orioles selected for MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame
In advance of their annual meetings, the Major League Baseball Groundskeepers have selected Mr. Pete Flynn of the New York Mets and the late Mr. Pat Santarone of the Baltimore Orioles as the newest members of the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame. They join previous inductees Emil Bossard (Indians), George Toma (Royals), Joe Mooney (Red Sox), Dick Ericson (Twins) and Harry Gill (Brewers). Flynn and Santarone will be inducted the evening of January 11, 2015 at Coors Field in Denver.
Pete Flynn is an ‘Original Met’ who began working on the field during the team’s inaugural season at the Polo Grounds in 1962. Flynn became Head Groundskeeper at Shea Stadium for the Mets in 1974 and held that position until 2001. For the next decade, Pete continued as a part of the Mets Grounds Crew before retirement. During his career, the Mets were World Series Champions in 1969 and 1986. In addition to concerts, many events, and the NFL’s Jets at Shea, Pete also handled the unique challenge of the 1974 and 1975 MLB seasons, when the Yankees and the Mets shared the ballpark as Yankee Stadium was renovated. Throughout his career, Pete made himself available to help local Catholic schools with grounds advice and tool donations. Hard work and dedication are the words that come to mind when people think of Pete Flynn. In 2008, Pete became a member of the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2012, he was honored with induction to the New York Mets Hall of Fame.
Pasquale ‘Pat’ Santarone joined the Baltimore Orioles as their Head Groundskeeper at Memorial Stadium for the 1969 season. Santarone began his career at age 23 at class A Elmira, where he took over the field from his father Val, an Italian immigrant. During the 1960’s, with Elmira as the Orioles AA affiliate, Pat got to work with future Orioles manager Earl Weaver. In 1969, Weaver and GM Harry Dalton brought Pat to Baltimore to take over the field. Over the course of the next twenty-two seasons, with Pat tending the grounds at Memorial, the Orioles captured five American League pennants and won World Series titles in 1970 and 1983. During that time, Baltimore infielders won a total of twenty-five AL Gold Gloves on Pat’s field. Santarone and Weaver are also fondly remembered for their annual tomato growing competition. Pat chose to retire on Opening Day in 1991. He was quoted that spring on retiring: “Professionally, what I’ll miss the most is the excitement of a pennant race – and winning a pennant.” Santarone spent retirement in Montana, enjoying freshwater fishing and his passion for cooking and winemaking. He passed away in May of 2008.
To be considered for induction to the Major League Baseball Groundskeepers Hall of Fame, a person must have ceased employment in the profession for at least five years, and have made a significant contribution to groundskeeping and/ or the sports turf industry at the Major League level. An individual’s impact on the community will also be considered. Nominees are submitted to the MLB Groundskeepers Association for a vote. Each team has one vote; a nominee must receive must receive 75% of the vote of all active association members.