Inductees Ron Maestri covered all the bases in forging out an outstanding baseball coaching and college administrative career.
A native of Highland Park, Maestri entered coaching immediately after his baseball player days at Bradley were over, serving as assistant coach at Princeville, Spalding and Pekin before returning to Bradley in 1967 as a three-sport assistant.
In 1972 he became head baseball coach at New Orleans University and in 14 seasons went 518-247-1.
His teams finished second in the 1974 Division II NCAA College World Series and his 1984 team was fifth in the Division I College World Series. He was Region 11 Coach of the Year in ‘84.
He won the Sun Belt Conference in 1978 and 1979 and he was Sun Belt Coach of the Year in 1979. His teams won seven Division I regionals between 1977 and 1985.
He was also athletic director at New Orleans 1979 - 2000 when he retired.
He is a member of the New Orleans Hall of Fame, the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, the University of New Orleans Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Italian-American Hall of Fame, the Bradley Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Hall of Fame.
As an administrator, he was executive director of the 2000 New Orleans Bowl, the 2002 NCAA women’s volleyball Final Four, the 2003 NCAA Men’s Final Four and the 2004 NCAA Women’s Final Four.
He also has been chairman and co-chairman of many other major collegiate and other sporting events in New Orleans.
Ron Maestri covered all the bases in forging out an outstanding baseball coaching and college administrative career.
A two-sport star (baseball and basketball) at both Limestone High School and Illinois Central College, Thome went on to a legendary baseball career as one of the top sluggers in Major League Baseball history. A 13th-round selection by the Cleveland Indians in 1989, Thome made his MLB debut in 1991. After a 22-year career with Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles, Thome ranks seventh in Major League history with 612 home runs and 24th with 1,699 runs batted in, while boasting a .276 career batting average. He was a five-time All-Star and received Most Valuable Player votes in nine different seasons. Thome helped Cleveland to World Series appearances in both 1995 and 1997 and he hit 17 career postseason home runs. Thome led the American League in slugging in 2002 (.677) and the National League with 47 home runs in 2003 and he received a 1996 Silver Slugger Award. Thome also was the 2006 Americal League Comeback Player of the Year. Recognized for his integrity, sportsmanship and community involvement, Thome received the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2001 and 2004, as well as the 2002 Roberto Clemente Award and the 2004 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. The Cleveland organization dedicated a statue of Thome outside Progressive Field following his official retirement in 2014.