Farewell Bato, You’re Already a Legend

SAN NICOLÁS DE LOS GARZA | Saturday, May 18th, 2019.- Osvaldo Agustín Batocletti Ronco departed this life on the evening of Friday, May 17th, at the age of 69 years, three months and 26 days, but his legacy to Mexican football and, above all, Tigres, will forever be immeasurable and indelible.

He was known as ‘The most Tigre Tigre of all’ owing to his representation and defense of the institution for which he worked until his very last breath. He is also credited with being the inspiration for the authentic Tigre profile, which defines a footballer with character, dedication and, above all, who plays with a passion for the colors he or she represents.

He was born in San Nicolás de los Arroyos, Argentina in 1950, and, when he was 20 years old, embarked on his football career, playing for clubs such as Racing Club, Lanús and Unión de Santa Fe. It took only four years for a Mexican team to decide to bring him to our country to play football and discover the land he loved so much until the end of his days.

León was the club that brought him to Mexico and where he caught the eye of several local teams, given his fierce playing style, capacity to anticipate and physical presence. In 1977, he was about to sign with  C.F. Monterrey together with his Uruguayan teammate from La Fiera, Walter Daniel Mantegazza, but, as luck would have it, the transaction never went through and Tigres appeared, where, from the very beginning, it was love at first sight.

He and Mantegazza arrived to lead the renovation the Universitario team had in mind at that time, and, side by side with Gerónimo Barbadillo, Tomás Boy and many others, joined the famous and also deceased, Carlos ‘Tanque’ Miloc.

Together, they initiated Tigres’ first Golden Age, being crowned champions in 1977-1978 and 1981-1982, defeating in the Final teams such as Pumas and Atlante.

Bato was a cornerstone of the team and, as captain, commanded a side that respected him in every aspect, not only for his physical presence, quality performance on the field and indomitable spirit, but also his extraordinary people skills.

As the years went by, his love for the yellow and blue colors grew. From being born in San Nicolás de los Arroyos, he came to live in San Nicolás de los Garza until the last days of his life, when he would only leave his house to be treated for the terrible disease that had afflicted him for the past eighteen months.

He retired in 1984 as a football idol to begin his career as a coach, on a long journey that took him to Tigres, Tigrillos, Irapuato, Correcaminos and many others, accompanying his colleague and friend, Tomás Boy.

He will always be remembered as the man who led the historic comeback against América, in the so-called Aztecazoof the Apertura 2005 Quarter Finals. Tigres had lost the first leg in the Universitario Stadium 3-1, but in the second leg, at the ‘Colossus of Saint Ursula’ (Azteca Stadium), the character Bato imposed on the team gave them the strength to come back in an extraordinary manner to win  4-1 and advance to the Semifinals.

Batocletti’s career was constantly linked to the felines. When his era as a coach seemed to be coming to an end, he joined the Club to work with children and young people in the Tigres Academies, travelling all over Mexico, the United States and part of Central America, as the bearer of the team’s spirit.

He was the image of the reality showFábrica de Garraduring its two seasons, host of the TV program Zona Tigres, representative and leader of the Tigres for Children initiative, which introduced physical activation into the schools of Nuevo León, and icon of the institution at many events in which he was recognized as one of the team’s top idols.

When Women’s football started, Tigres entrusted him with managing the team and he accepted gladly. In his first tournament, the squad reached the Semifinal, but, in the second, he was crowned champion together with a team of great players who saw him more as a father figure than a manger.

Just before the Final against Rayadas, Bato revealed that he had cancer and it would be his last match, so he could focus on his treatment. The players gave their all on the pitch and dedicated the victory to him.

Even in this last Women’s championship, on the morning of Monday May 13thfrom his hospital bed, just hours before the Final, he asked the entire institution to give him a second Liga title… and his wishes were their command.

At Tigres, we will remember him not only for his legacy on the pitch, but in particular for his strength, because, despite frequently undergoing chemotherapy, he never failed to come to work with a smile on his face, greeting each and every one of the institution’s employees, telling jokes, offering words of encouragement to those who needed them, sharing anecdotes and being a friend.

Rest in peace, one of the most emblematic men in the history of our team, a true gentleman on and off the pitch, a footballer, a great colleague and the best of friends.