Sonoma Baseball Coach of Over Forty Years Passes


On March 27, 2023, a longtime Sonoman and key figure of Sonoma baseball passed away. Mario Alioto was known throughout the town for his role on the varsity baseball team for over 30 years, being an assistant coach and priming the field for play.

A funeral celebration was held at St. Leo’s church on April 3, with many SVHS students in attendance. This number of high schoolers there is a testament to the many lives, especially Sonoma baseball players. The varsity baseball team all showed up to remember the coach, wearing their team jerseys to show tribute. In addition, Alioto’s grandson, also named Mario Alioto, is a junior at SVHS and spoke at the event, reading the “Prayer of the Faithful” to remember his grandfather. 

The family of Alioto encouraged attendees to wear their favorite sports jerseys, paying homage to the sports that consumed Alioto’s life. Many were wearing “Cubs” jerseys from the local Babe Ruth team that Alioto coached for many years. Alioto coached the Babe Ruth (a baseball league for 13-15 year olds in Sonoma) Cubs up until the end of the league when COVID hit. This means Alioto coached some current SVHS students like Beau Jurasek, Max Harrison, and myself, who are all a part of the 2023 varsity baseball team.

The event’s “celebrant” was Reverend Jojo Puthussery, performing the opening prayer, gospel and homily, and the final blessing. Much of the family of Alioto spoke at the funeral, with Amee Alioto reading the “first reading,” Stefana Alioto reading the “responsorial psalm,” and his two sons, Mario Alioto III and Joseph Alioto reading eulogies. 

The large crowd that were there in celebration shuffled to the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Building for a reception where the remembrance continued.

Alioto will not be forgotten and will live in the memories of Sonoma baseball for years to come. The varsity baseball team is planning to honor him through the attachment of a lawn mower sticker on their helmets, a hallmark of Alioto’s field preparations. This is an example of the ways Alioto will continue to live on, on the baseball field and in Sonoma.