For baseball fans, the World Series brings back vivid memories not only of network-TV spectacles, but also of quiet nights listening to baseball on the radio. When Triple-A baseball debuted in Las Vegas in 1983, local fans greeted it with enthusiasm—and one of the main attractions was the seasoned major-league voice of Dom Valentino.
Now, at age 82, strokes and heart problems have left Valentino in a wheelchair, and his speech—so smooth and resonant in the memories of Vegas baseball fans—is limited. He lives with his son in New York, where he broadcast the Yankees, Nets and Islanders in the mid-1970s. He had earlier been a prominent broadcaster for the NBA’s Cincinnati Royals, who later became the Kansas City and Sacramento Kings. He also spent a year with the Oakland A’s.
Valentino stayed with the Stars for six seasons, usually working alongside Paul Olden, who went on to be the Yankee Stadium public address announcer. Valentino was a perfect fit for the city, operating a popular nightclub, Valentino & Pesce’s, that some locals may recall even better than his play-by-play. He described the Las Vegas exploits of future stars such as Ozzie Guillen and John Kruk, and superstars such as Roberto Alomar and, briefly, Tony Gwynn. Critics often accuse Las Vegas of lacking a sense of history for reasons unjustified (imploding Strip hotels) and justified (new arrivals too often brush local teams and traditions aside as they root for the old town). But Valentino is an important part of Las Vegas’ emergence as a sports town. And as he battles poor health, we should look back on his time here with pride and affection.