Steno Borghese

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Stefano Giuseppe Pierfilippo Paolo Maria Alessandro Borghese

Biographical Information[edit]

Prince Steno Borghese, the scion of an aristocratic family, was a key figure in the development of baseball in Italy. He was one of the founders of the Nettuno baseball club, established at the end of World War II and became club president while also donating land for the construction of a stadium, the first proper baseball field in Italy and the only one for quite some time (games elsewhere were played by necessity on soccer fields).

He was the local prince in the city of Nettuno, Lazio (Italy was still a monarchy at the time) and an opponent of fascism when the Allies landed there on January 22, 1944 (an operation better known as the Anzio Landing, after a nearby town). He provided significant support for their operations, hosted refugees on his lands, and built a baseball field on his grounds to provide American soldiers with some relaxation. He became enamoured with the game and made it his mission for the rest of his life to promote the sport in his country. The Americans installed him as acting mayor of Anzio once the city was liberated following very fierce fighting. He was the eldest son of Rodolfo Borghese, who was also Prince of Nettuno and a politician in pre-World War II Italy. Steno (short for Stefano) never dabbled in politics, however, apart from his temporary office in Anzio, and also never married nor had any children.

His personal standing was important in gaining the sport some respect in a country where it had no tradition, and in 1957, as President of the Italian Baseball Federation (from 1950 to 1960), he was instrumental in getting official recognition for his sport from the President of the Italian Olympic Committee, even though baseball was not an Olympic sport at the time. On November 30, 1958, he started a well-publicized and successful visit to the United States to obtain support for the fledgling federation and for Italian teams, establishing the foundation of what would be one of the most successful baseball leagues in Europe. Milwaukee Braves owner Lou Perini was among the prominent Italian-American business leaders who provided material support to the effort. He also helped organize the European Baseball Federation and served as its first president, from 1953 to 1971. He remained involved in the sport long after his official duties in Italy and Europe ended and was a regular visitor to the European Championship and at major league baseball games. In 2005, he was an inaugural inductee to the Italian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Stadio Steno Borghese in Nettuno is named in his honor.

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