Arcado “Hank” Biasatti, an Italian-Canadian multisport star, is the only Canadian to ever play professional baseball and basketball at the highest level. He played briefly for the National Basketball Association’s Toronto Huskies, and his 11-year professional baseball career peaked with a stint with the American League’s Philadelphia Athletics.
Biasatti was born in the Northern Italian town of Beano on January 14, 1922. After moving to Canada at an early age, he attended Gordon McGregor Continuation School between Grades 1 and 10, where he starred in basketball, softball, and soccer.
Biasatti was particularly impressive on the basketball court. He was the Clansmen’s leading scorer in WSSA Junior Basketball play, famously scoring 23 of his team’s 29 points in a 36-29 loss to Patterson, and a further 26 points in a 48-23 victory over Walkerville.
Biasatti went on to play high school basketball and football for Assumption. Biasatti played quarterback on the gridiron and was named to the All-City basketball team in 1940 and ’41. On one noteworthy occasion, Biasatti impressed onlookers with his passing prowess as Assumption dropped a hard-fought contest 7-0 to South Bend Catholic High School in Indiana.
After high school, Biasatti moved on to Assumption College, where he played basketball with great distinction on either side of a three-year tour with the Canadian Army (1943-45). In 1945 Biasatti led his Assumption team to an improbable 49-45 victory over the Harlem Globetrotters. Biasatti finished the memorable match with 11 points, including two clutch foul shots that broke a 43-43 tie to give Assumption the lead for good.
In 1946, following the war, Biasatti attracted the interest of the Toronto Huskies, a fledgling professional basketball team that had recently merged into the National Basketball Association as part of the Basketball Association of America. The Huskies signed two Windsorites, Biasatti and Gino Sovran, in an attempt to lure Canadian fans to Maple Leaf Gardens. The two men only managed to play six games, but Biasatti had written another line on his resume before resuming his baseball career.
Biasatti put together 11 years as a professional baseball player, batting .277 for his career. He had first attracted attention as a slick-fielding, hard-hitting first baseman with the city champion Junior East Windsor Cubs. Biasatti racked up very respectable numbers while playing for professional minor league clubs in Three Rivers, Savannah, Toronto, Philadelphia, Buffalo, and San Francisco over a long and varied career.
Biasatti transitioned into a coaching role in the winter of his career, serving as Player/Manager for baseball clubs in Waterloo, Drummondville, Lancaster, and Columbia between 1953 and ’56. He returned to Windsor and took the Head Coach job for Assumption University’s basketball team from 1956 to ’62, during which time he accumulated a 77-66 record, including a sparkling 44-14 record in OQAA play. Biasatti’s Assumption team won league titles in 1957 and ’59.
Biasatti was inducted into the University of Windsor Alumni Sports Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.
He passed away on April 10, 1996.