CLEVELAND - In Cleveland, you can't think of the national anthem without thinking of one man, Rocco Scotti.
But a clip in our video vault had me scratching my head. Why was Rocco singing the national anthem into the phone?
The date was April 8, 1983 and there he is in an office or studio with a small combo accompanying him. He was singing the national anthem for a baseball opening day, but that baseball game was thousands of miles away in Los Angeles. Our Rocco Scotti was doing for the LA Dodgers what he had been doing for us for years.
Later that year, the Tribe celebrated Rocco Scotti Night at old Municipal Stadium. Rocco was given a behind-the-fence party, a plaque (presented by another legendary Clevelander, Larry Robinson) and a very nice sketch. Rocco spoke, but fans were treated to a gift from Rocco, the national anthem.
There is another segment where Rocco is singing in the office/studio again. This time our archive showed the date as April 12, 1985 and it's only listed as Rocco Scotti practice... like Rocco needed practice.
He belts it out and we get to hear the entire national anthem... very cool. The band kicks it with a short bit of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
The second clip in the video player contains a story from former WEWS reporter Ted Hart. Rocco Scotti had not sung the national anthem for the Indians since the final week at Municipal Stadium, meaning since 1994, until 2001 he had never done the anthem at the Indians new home.
It's April 2, 2001 and Larry Dolan has invited Rocco to sing at the Jake. One small problem, Rocco was in a car accident downtown and is in the hospital just two hours before first pitch.
Rocco, with blood showing from the stitches in his scalp, is in fine form. Those show biz folk all know "the show must go on."
Clevelandseniors.com did a wonderful profile on Rocco in 2009. Among the facts I found fascinating is Rocco sang with the Rome (Italy) Philharmonic Orchestra and two albums were released from those sessions.
Rocco celebrated birthday number 92 a few weeks ago.
A signature "Rocco Scotti salute" to you Rocco.