Cal Burleson, a member of the Indianapolis minor league baseball team’s front office for 45 years, died Sunday at the age of 71. He was diagnosed with cancer in December.
He began as the team’s ticket manager in 1975 and also served in roles as business manager (1977-80) and publicity director (1981-86). He was the team’s general manager from 1998-2014 and was a two-time International League Executive of the Year. He was the team’s vice president of baseball and administrative affairs from 2015-16.
“Cal left an indelible mark on not only the (Indianapolis minor league baseball team) but all of Central Indiana. His legacy extends far beyond the (team) and his passing is felt by so many individuals in professional baseball,” the team’s CEO and Chairman of the Board Bruce Schumacher said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with his wife Mai, daughter Heather and two granddaughters, and the many friends, fans, community leaders and children who were fortunate enough to cross paths and be positively influenced by Cal over the years.”
Burleson also served as chairman of the board for the American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis and was on the board of several other organizations around the city.
“There is one overarching word that comes to mind when remembering Cal – passion. He approached everything in his life with a great deal of passion. He was passionate about his family, impacting generations of individuals in the Indianapolis community and driving the (Indianapolis minor league baseball team) to success on and off the field,” Randy Lewandowski, the team’s president and general manager, said in a statement. “In true Cal fashion, he tackled his cancer diagnosis head-on. Much like his desire for the Indians to compete until the final out, he showed fight, grit and determination to beat his diagnosis from start to finish. He was a mentor to many and will be sorely missed.”
Note to readers: The Indianapolis Star will refer to the city’s minor league baseball team as “Indianapolis minor league baseball team” going forward to avoid inappropriate use of cultural terms.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Cal Burleson of Indianapolis minor baseball team front office dies