inducted October 2, 2008
Coming from nearby DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, Rolando Acosta quickly made his home on the mound at Columbia, becoming a two-time Pitcher of the Year (1978, 1979) in the Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League, the precursor to the Ivy League.
Buoyed by the addition of Acosta and another local athlete, freshman outfielder Tony Ramirez, the baseball players began to anticipate having a competitive team in 1977. They were simply determined not to lose.
And they didn’t, not that year, as Columbia won the Eastern League with a 12-2 record and went to the NCAA Championships, not the year after, when they tied for the title. Acosta earned four straight All-Eastern League (and All-Ivy League) honors, first team three times. In both 1977 and 1979, he was the Eastern League pitcher of the year.
He still holds Columbia records for career victories, 22, and season victories, 8, in 1979, his final season. His 198 career strikeouts are third-best.
In January 2008, Acosta ascended to one of the highest positions in the New York State judiciary, when then-Governor Eliot Spitzer appointed him to the Appellate Division, First Judicial Department, which consists of Manhattan and the Bronx. He had served as a State Supreme Court justice for New York County since 2003.
Today, Acosta lives just up the street from the Baker Athletics Complex with his wife, Vasthi and their two children, Zila, 19, and Lucas, 16. Zila is in her second year at Columbia College.