Just in time for his 92nd birthday, Roland Hemond, legendary Major League executive and scout, has been inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. Hemond, a native of Central Falls, is a product of that great Rhode Island baseball tradition called the Tim O’Neil Leagues, a comprehensive, age-graded, system of baseball leagues, devised and run by Tim O’Neil, the nationally renowned “King of the Sandlots.”
Hemond joins such other Tim O’Neil alumni such as Andy Coakley, Bill Flynn, John Cooney, James Cooney Sr., James Cooney Jr., Gabby Hartnett, Clem Labine, Davey Lopes, Chet Nichols, Mike Rourke, Hank Soar, Lou Gorman, and Dave Stenhouse, not only as baseball Major Leaguers but also as inductees into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame.
Roland was born in Central Falls on October 26, 1929. He was raised in that city, and attended its public schools. He also played sandlot baseball on Blackstone Valley teams that competed in the Tim O’Neil Leagues.
Hemond began his Major League career in 1952 as a scout with the Boston Braves where he met his wife Margo, daughter of John Quinn, the team’s general manager. Roland moved with the team and his new wife to Milwaukee where he won his first and only World Series ring in 1957. From Milwaukee, Hemond joined the Los Angeles Angels in 1961 as Scouting and Farm Director. His baseball odyssey continued in 1970 when he became general manager of the Chicago White Sox, a post he held until 1985. Next, he was called upon to assume a similar role with the Baltimore Orioles from 1988 to 1995. During these productive tenures he was named by the Sporting News, as the “Executive of the Year” in 1972, 1983, and 1989.
After his stint in Baltimore, Roland found a permanent home in Arizona with the Diamondbacks franchise serving in an executive and advisory capacity from 1996 to 2000 and from 2007 to 2019, thereby completing six decades of service to Major League baseball.
During his long career he held many baseball-related positions off the field and was accorded numerous honors for his extra-curricular activities. He served as president of the Association of Professional Ballplayers of America, a non-profit organization that helps former and current players and baseball personnel in need. He has done the same for baseball scouts. He also created the Arizona Fall League, an off-season development league for aspiring major league players, and he is a long-time member of the Society for American Baseball Research.
Among his many awards, the most prized is the Buck O’Neil (no relation to Tim) Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Board of Directors “for his extraordinary efforts to enhance the game’s positive impact on society. “ In addition, four annual baseball awards are named in Hemond’s honor.
Presently Roland and his wife Margo reside in Phoenix. They are the parents of five children. In 2019, he returned briefly to his native city of Central Falls to attend the dedication of a Little League field named in his honor.
Dr. Patrick T. Conley President (1995 Inductee)
Update: Roland Hemond passed away on December 12, 2021 at the age of 92.