March 13, 1948 – Dec. 20, 2014
Peter D. Calieri, a former professional baseball umpire who called plays in the film “The Natural,” died unexpectedly Saturday in his Grand Island home. He was 66.
Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of West Seneca West Senior High School. He began umpiring Police Athletic League games in Cazenovia Park when he was 16 and first worked as a college basketball official at age 18.
After serving in the Army in Germany, he sold insurance and officiated at ball games. He caught the attention of a scout from the Cincinnati Reds, decided to go professional and went to umpire school.
“Out of 150 students, I finished seventh,” he told an interviewer in 1983. “I was offered a job in the New York-Pennsylvania League. Only 15 students in our class got jobs.”
Mr. Calieri went on to work for nine years in the Carolina League, the Eastern League and the International League, as well as the Caribbean League in the winter, where he was named Umpire of the Year. He also helped bring minor league baseball back to Buffalo in the late 1970s.
He had hoped to move up to the major leagues in 1983 when a knee injury ended his career. Instead, he found a role in the movie starring Robert Redford and for years was a standby local official for International League games in Buffalo.
Mr. Calieri was inducted into the Western New York Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.
For the past four years, he has served as executive producer and co-host of a weekly sports talk program, “Officially Yours,” on radio station WECK. He also appeared in local theatrical productions, most recently as a Christmas angel.
Previously, he worked in sales for several companies and was a trade show and event consultant for Superior Promotions.
For many years, he officiated Municipal League baseball and scholastic basketball and volleyball games.
He was a member of the National League of Umpires, the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials, the Western New York Soccer Association and the Italian Club of Buffalo.
He volunteered with the Police Athletic League, Upstate New York Transplant Services and the annual Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival.
Mr. Calieri assisted in programs that helped veterans find professional careers.
Survivors include a son, Christopher; a daughter, Emily; his mother, Virginia; two sisters, Mary and Nancy Kilger; a brother, Frank; and a companion, Barbara Gannon.
Services will be held at 8 p.m. Monday in Hoy Funeral Home, 3855 Seneca St., West Seneca.