By Greg Gulas
As chairman of the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo., and president of its Broadmoor Sea Island Resort in Georgia, Hubbard native Steve Bartolin has dined with presidents, entertained Heads of State and accommodated countless movies stars and athletes.
It’s his down-to-earth demeanor and hometown work ethic, however, that defines him and sets him apart from others holding similar positions.
A 43-year veteran of the hotel business, the former Youngstown State and Minor League Baseball pitcher returned to the Mahoning Valley Saturday to serve as co-speaker of YSU baseball’s First Pitch Breakfast at the Embassy.
He hit a home run while addressing a near-overflow crowd.
“Growing up here helped me so much. I learned a work ethic in the Mahoning Valley that was second to none and it prepared me for life after baseball,” said Bartolin, who still remains in the top 10 of no less than 12 YSU individual pitching categories some 43 years after graduation.
“I never thought of myself as being better than the maid, bell hop or grounds crew. It has to do with how you treat people and that’s always with dignity and respect.”
He credits his former college baseball coach, the late Dom Rosselli, as a guiding influence and the one who helped prepare him for his next step in life.
“Dom was such a sweet guy and an excellent judge of talent,” Bartolin said. “A lot was said that if you got on the wrong side of him, you’d have a hard time getting out of his doghouse. Heaven knows that I gave him plenty of reasons to end up in his doghouse, yet he stuck with me and for that I am eternally grateful.”
Bartolin said his career almost ended before it ever began.
“When I played, we also took a trip south only it was to the old South Field House in order to practice,” he added. “Dom also coached basketball and they had a sharpshooting lefthander named John McElroy, who once scored 72 points in a single game. As I was winding up, my shoe got caught on the bottom of the bleachers, I tripped and the ball fell out of my hand awkwardly and hit John square in the knee. I thought I was done.”
The friendships that he forged while at YSU have been very special.
“It’s amazing the many friendships that evolved and how they have lasted over the years,” he noted. “We had good teams, a camaraderie and chemistry that was second to none and while we have gone our separate ways, we’re closer than ever 45 years after we played. We get together for a reunion once a year at the Broadmoor and will do so once again this August.
“On one occasion, the guys brought Coach Rosselli and it was an absolutely great time. I have a dear friend named Andy Gambucci who was a three-sport star at Colorado College and he speaks fluent Italian. A teammate on those teams, Neil Guerrieri, was cooking spaghetti and we couldn’t find Andy or coach. Turns out they were in Andy’s car listening to his Italian music tapes.”
Bartolin made it a point to visit former YSU athletic director Joe Malmisur and wife, Olga D., during his current visit.
“Joe is one of the people that I like and admire, just don’t ever negotiate with him,” he said with tongue in cheek. “When I was at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, YSU was going to play Middle Tennessee State and he wanted the team to stay with us. There was a big gap between YSU’s per diem and our rates and by the time we were done, I think I owed Joe for the team’s stay at our hotel.
“That was the beginning of a long friendship and what a great job he did for YSU and their athletic programs. During his tenure, he accomplished more than anyone in that position.”
Bartolin credits his mother and father for the many sacrifices they made over the years on his behalf, just so that he could have it a little bit better. His father’s advice resonated with the 1997 Resort Executive of the Year.
“We had just one car back then so if my mom needed to use the car during the day, we took dad and dropped him off for work,” Bartolin stated. “I was about six years old and when we dropped him off, he pulled me aside, pointed up at the office building and said the people in there wear white shirts and ties, go home clean and when their back hurts, they can take the day off.
“In order to do that you have to go to college. That’s why I appreciate my parents for their work ethic, and the opportunity YSU gave me to play baseball and earn a degree so that I can enjoy the life that I have had since graduating back in 1975.”