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Vincent J. Leone, cafe owner

He and his brothers had sponsored amateur baseball teams

By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

4:08 PM EDT, July 16, 2013

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Vincent J. Leone, a former Locust Point cafe owner who with his two brothers sponsored notable amateur baseball teams, died Saturday at Genesis HealthCare Spa Creek Center in Annapolis, where he had been recuperating from a fall.

The former longtime Brooklyn Park resident, who had recently moved to Kent Island, was 91.

Vincent John Leone, the son of a construction company owner and a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and spent his early years on Walbrook Avenue before moving to South Baltimore with his family.

He attended city public schools until the eighth grade, when he left after his father's death in 1931 to help support his family.

Mr. Leone trained as a boilermaker and worked at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's Mount Clare Shops repairing steam locomotives before enlisting in the Marine Corps during World War II.

Mr. Leone served as a cook with the 5th Marine Division in the South Pacific, attaining the rank of corporal. His decorations included the Purple Heart.

In 1950, Mr. Leone joined his brother Dominic Leone when they established Leone's Cafe on Fort Avenue.

"Leone's Cafe had its own Mama Leone where she was in the kitchen day and night and greeting customers who became her extended family," said his son, John V. Leone of Stevensville.

In 1952, Vincent and his two brothers, Dominic and Tony, began sponsoring Leone's Baseball. The amateur teams included two players who went onto the major leagues — Al Kaline and Reggie Jackson.

The Leone brothers continued sponsoring the teams, which later became part of Johnny's, Corrigan's and is currently Youse's Orioles, until the late 1970s.

They were inducted into the All American Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in Johnstown, Pa., in 2006 and the Old Timers Baseball Association of Maryland in 2009.

Mr. Leone's brother Dominic, who had been elected to the City Council, was fatally shot when a deranged Charles A. Hopkins invaded the temporary city hall in 1976 in the old USFG building on South Calvert Street. His other brother, Tony, died in 2001.

After selling the business in 1988, Mr. Leone owned and operated several service stations in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties until retiring several years ago.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Gonce Funeral Home, 4001 Ritchie Highway, Brooklyn Park.

In addition to his son, Mr. Leone is survived by his wife of 66 years, the former Antoinette Brocato; a sister, Anne Baumann of Brooklyn Park; and three grandsons.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com