January 8, 1935|
San Vito, Udine, Provincia di Friuli, Italy
|Died: April 15, 2011
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|September 22, 1953 for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|April 28, 1962 for the Detroit Tigers|
|Runs batted in||171|
Reno Peter Bertoia (January 8, 1935 – April 15, 2011) was an Italian-born professional baseball player, playing infield for the Detroit Tigers (1953–58 and 1961–62), Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins (1959–61) and Kansas City Athletics (1961).
Born as Pietro, Bertoia moved with his family to Canada from Italy at the age of one and grew up in Windsor, Ontario. His next-door neighbour and role model was Hank Biasatti. Bertoia attended Assumption College High School in Windsor and was signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1953. He went on to attend Assumption University in 1958 while a member of the Tigers. Bertoia also became close friends with Hall of Fame outfielder Al Kaline while with Detroit, and was an important part of Kaline's early years with the Tigers.
In 10 major league seasons he played in 612 games and had 1,745 at bats, 204 runs, 425 hits, 60 doubles, 10 triples, 27 home runs, 171 RBI, 16 stolen bases, 142 walks, .244 batting average, .303 on-base percentage, .336 slugging percentage, 586 total bases and 31 sacrifice hits.
In January 1964, Bertoia signed to play in the Japanese Central League with the Hanshin Tigers. He asked for his release a few weeks into the season because his son had been ill during most of the family's stay in Japan.
After his retirement as a player, Bertoia received his full high school teaching credentials and returned to Windsor, where he worked as a teacher for 30 years with the Windsor Catholic School Board. He was inducted into the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame in 1982, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988 and the University of Windsor Alumni Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.
References in Popular Culture
WKCR-FM radio DJ Phil Schaap has reportedly provided Bertoia's name as the answer to unanswerable questions asked by insistent listeners of the radio station who will not accept that the question is unanswerable. For example, if a listener were to ask, "Who was playing trumpet on that album?" And Schaap said, "I don't know," and then the listener said, "You must know!" Schaap would reply, "Reno Bertoia."
- Corriere dello Sport "L'Italiano BERTOIA nei 'Tigers', di Detroit". Corriere dello Sport (in Italian). September 4, 1953. p. 2. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
- Caton, Mary (April 15, 2001). "Former Detroit Tiger Reno Bertoia dies". Retrieved April 15, 2011.