No one plays more softball than Ron Quarantino.
The 80-year old SaddleBrooke player calculates that over the past 23 years, he’s played in almost 4,300 games, batted 16,000 times and hit for an average of .680. Yes, he tracks these numbers with his own spreadsheet, not surprising for a former IBM accountant.
In SaddleBrooke-only play, he’s been in more than 2,200 games, batting almost 8,500 times for a .709 average. Fittingly, he had the first hit in the first game played on the new SaddleBrooke field in 2005, and that hit on the first pitch, no less, was a home run. You can’t make this up.
And Quarantino shows no signs of slowing down. This past summer alone, he played 98 games over 16 weeks on six different teams at SaddleBrooke.
If ever there was a “Mr. Softball” at SaddleBrooke, Quarantino or “Q” as he is known at the ballpark, fits the bill.
Quarantino started playing fast-pitch softball when he was 19 and then added slow pitch seven years later. He began at SaddleBrooke in 1998 after a retirement move from Atlanta with a team that played in downtown Tucson until the field was built here. He also played in a Sunday league in Tucson from 2003 to 2015 and in tournaments across the country.
Fellow player Bill Spevak knows Quarantino well, playing with him since 2003 in the early days of SaddleBrooke softball. He describes him as a “champion” and is beyond impressed that he’s still playing at a high level at his age.
“I’m in awe of his physical and mental capabilities,” Spevak says. “He is fearless and never stops competing.”
Spevak also notes that Quarantino is one of the great volunteers in the organization. He has served in a number of capacities from commissioner and manager to umpire and scorekeeper.
Quarantino’s greatest softball thrill is traveling and playing in tournaments with his twin brother Bobby, also a good player, who lives in Robson’s PebbleCreek. Together, they won five world championships and were each named an outstanding player eight times.
Quarantino was inducted into the first Wall of Honor class here last year, both as a player and volunteer contributor. He is believed to be the first 80-year old to play in SaddleBrooke’s most talented division, the Competitive League. He is an outfielder and pitcher.
Quarantino was born and raised in Kingston, N.Y. where he played baseball, football, and basketball growing up. It was there he met his future wife, Barb, in the seventh grade. They have been married for 59 years and have two daughters. Quarantino says he’s fortunate to have an understanding wife when it comes to softball.
Barb, an accomplished singer and musician with the SaddleBrooke Singers, says her husband has been playing ball since they’ve known each other in Kingston.
“Besides his family, it’s his passion,” she says. “It keeps his mind and body active. Softball gives him such pleasure; it makes me happy because he’s happy.”
Like all spouses at SaddleBrooke, she is concerned he might get hurt—and reminds him to get behind the pitching screen—but would never allow that concern to ask him to stop playing. And if he someday is unable to play, she’s sure he’ll still stay involved.
One concession Quarantino makes is he’ll probably stop playing and traveling to tournaments because he’s reached his goal of winning world championships in four different age categories. He will continue to play in SaddleBrooke as long as he can. This fall season, he’s playing on four teams.
“I still have the will to play and it helps that I’m very healthy,” he says. “We have a beautiful field and a great group of players. Why would I stop?”
SaddleBrooke Senior Softball is in the midst of its 10-week fall season. Games are played Monday through Friday year-round in five different leagues. All skill levels are welcome.
If you are interested in playing on one of the best softball facilities in southern Arizona or even watching your neighbors like Quarantino, go to www.saddlebrookesoftball.com to learn more.