GVBA and the Victoria Eagles organization are sad to report that Eagles Pitching Coach Roy Moretti died yesterday from cancer.
Roy Moretti loved the game of baseball. He and I grew up together in a scruffy neighbourhood close to the corner of Foul Bay and Oak Bay. I was three or four years older than Roy and we didn’t spend much time together until he showed up one spring at the first practice of the Oak Bay Little League team I had played on for three years. Roy was a little kid with a giant heart and that’s how he played the game of baseball that year. After Little League, Roy played Pony League at Carnarvon Park, Colt League at Topaz and Sr. Babe Ruth at Windsor Park. In 1975, Roy Moretti and I played together again in the Senior Men’s League at Lambrick Park. Roy had become a hard throwing righthander in the intervening years. His fast ball ripped the air and after I had caught him for a few innings my left hand would be red and sore.
Roy played in the Men’s League for three years before trying out for the Victoria Mussels in 1978, the year the franchise became part of the Single-A Northwest League. Roy cracked the Mussels roster as a walk on and he went on to play ten years of professional baseball on teams affiliated with the Blue Jays, A’s, Padres, White Sox and the Orioles. In between these stops, he played a season in Japan with the Yakult Swallows. Perhaps his most memorable team was the 1983 Utica Blue Sox, a team memorialized in Roger Kahn’s book, “Good Enough to Dream” (see http://www.uticaod.com/article/20080906/News/309069931). The Blue Sox, given no chance to win prior to the season, clinched first place in the New York-Penn League with Roy’s 2-1 complete game win. Roy’s pitching performances catapulted the Blue Sox to the League’s playoff championship that season.
Roy had been the pitching coach with the Nanaimo Pirates for many years when, after the end of the 2013 season, he told me he was interested in returning to his home town to coach with the Eagles. I immediately gave him a welcoming hug and an Eagles hat! In an email a few days later he explained his motivation for coaching our young men, “I am looking forward to helping the young players of today in hope that it will help them for tomorrow and for their future.” He started working with our pitchers that Fall and carried on with the Eagles until late in the summer of 2014 when his cancer became so bad he couldn’t make the trip down from Nanaimo. Bob Mabee and I spoke regularly with Roy on the phone during these difficult days and he loved to hear our updates on the Eagles players he had been working with. He took great pride in their progress.
Roy Moretti was a Champion – a great baseball player, coach and man. We will miss him.
Martin Winstanley, Chairman
Victoria Eagles Baseball