He earned the nick
name Snake when he was a shortstop at Jefferson High
School. He could crawl around the dirt, digging up those hard
grounders. His play earned him a trip to Tampa U. Tony Saladino
seems to have always been around baseball.
Tony is a historical landmark in Tampa Bay,
many young people were coached by Tony either in Hillsborough
public schools or at the recreation center where he volunteered
his time. He learned the game of baseball from his father Tony
Tony Sr. passed away at a very early age while
bowling with Tony Jr. It left an indelible mark on Jr. losing
his dad at such a young age. Tony searched for ways to honor his
father, a man he so much admired. 20 some odd years ago, Tony
and his wonderful bride Bertha initiated the Annual Tony Saladino
Baseball Tournament. The list of kids that have come through this
tourney and have been discovered by Major League Baseball reads
like a whos who.
Tino Martinez, Brad Radke, Louis Gonzalez,
Fred McGriff, Gary Sheffield, Dwight Gooden and many more have
been discovered while playing in the Saladino.
Each year Tony and Bertha entertain the tops
scouts in both the majors and in college, and kids benefit.
The tournament is just one of the reasons Jefferson
High School inducted Tony into their Hall of Fame in 2000. He
is such a jewel, such a great member of the Tampa Bay community.
He gives and gives, and never asks in return.
One of Tonys team mates at Jefferson
and Tampa U was former Florida Governor and US Drug Czar Bob Martinez,
who says there are few who have made the impact on youngsters
like Tony Saladino. He is truly an outstanding human being, and
deserving of recognition as a Tampa Bay Legend.