Buckner speaks at YSU event

Former Penguin pitcher Bartolin also featured at fundraise

YOUNGSTOWN — For the eighth year in a row, the Youngstown State University baseball team started its year with the First Pitch Breakfast held at the Embassy in Youngstown.

“I’ve always considered this my home and it means a lot to me. Youngstown State means a lot to me,” former YSU standout pitcher Steve Bartolin said about his reasoning for speaking at the event. “I don’t think I would’ve graduated if it weren’t for playing baseball here.

“When I got released from the (Detroit) Tigers, I wasn’t real serious about anything. To be able to give back and provide others an opportunity to enjoy college baseball, it’s a good thing to do.”

Bartolin played baseball from 1969-72 and was inducted into the YSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1987. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1972 and played professionally until 1975. He helped lead YSU to an overall record of 89-48 in his time with the Penguins.

In 1991, he was named President and CEO of The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a position he has held ever since.

Bartolin wasn’t the only speaker at the event, as the main guest speaker was former Boston Red Sox great Bill Buckner.

Buckner played 22 years in Major League Baseball and was at the time just the 18th player in MLB history to do so. There are now 29 such players.

Buckner played for the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, California Angels, Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Dodgers. Buckner amassed more than 2,700 hits during his career. He won the National League batting title with the Cubs in 1980 and was selected to the MLB All-Star Game in 1981.

Of course, he’ll always be remembered for letting a ball get between his legs at first base against the New York Mets in the 1986 World Series.

“I really wanted to come support the program here and be a part of the push of helping YSU’s baseball team. I think that is important to have support for college baseball,” Buckner said.

YSU coach Dan Bertolini is now in his second season as the head coach and takes great pride in this event.

“I feel like we finally got our bearings and got to do what we wanted. I thought the event went very smoothly today. Last year, it was hectic because I was getting ready for the season and putting this together,” Bertolini said. “I think our coaches have an idea of what we were doing this time around.”