Genesee Valley Umpires Association

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THE NEW YORK STATE BASEBALL UMPIRES ASSOCIATION

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GVUA Hall of Fame

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Eugene Baker Bob Flick Stan Smith Bruce Johnson Russell Brown Charles Brown
     Gene Baker (1916-1987) was one of the founding fathers of the Genesee Valley Umpires Association creation in the 1950's. Gene served as President of the GVUA from its inception until 1970. In 1970 Gene was elected as the President of the NYS Baseball Umpires Association President.

     Gene was a native of Shortsville and a graduate of Ithaca College. he is best know for his time at Livonia Central School (1942-1977) where he served as Athletic Director, coach, physical education and health teacher. During his coaching career he earned over a combined 800+ wins baseball, basketball, football and soccer along with 21 league championships and 2 Section V titles in basketball. He went on to coach baseball at Rochester Institute of Technology where he earned the 1978 National Coach of the Year honors.

     Gene also is responsible for a list of additional accolades throughout his career. He helped found the first Livonia Little League in 1945, served as President of the Livingston County Athletic Association, Section V baseball Chairmen and the NYS Baseball Chairmen. He also served as a regional scout for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Article Livonia Gazettte 1974

Article Livonia Gazettte 1977

     Bob Flick (1/15/26 – 8/8/77) began his umpire career in 1947 and would continue nearly 30 until his untimely death in 1977. His involvement with the GVUA would begin in the early 1950’s with the old Tri-County Umpires Association with fellow Hall of Fame member and frequent partner Bob Darch. Bob would serve in a number of administrative rolls but most notably as an interpreter where he could help share his knowledge for the rules of the game.

     Bob was a native of Attica, NY (’43) where he was a standout three sports athlete in baseball, basketball and soccer. Served as a B29 Air Force tail gunner in Japan (44-45) during WWII. Would go on to earn a degree in Health and Physical Education from SUNY Brockport (’50). Bob would extend his playing career to the professional ranks as he signed a contract with the New York Yankees minor league farm team in Manchester, New Hampshire and would continue into a second year with the minor league team in Atlanta, Georgia.

     Bob would go to start his teaching career at Pavilion HS, a short stint at Holley and finally concluding his career at Batavia HS. He married Faith Kornprobst in 1952 and had 4 children. Michael, Marcy, Cathy and Ann Mazur.

Article Batavia Daily News 1948

Article Batavia Daily News 1977

     Stanley N. Smith (8/17/12 – 6/6/04) love for the game of baseball was a key to his life long involvement as an umpire, coach, administrator and player. Stan began umpiring Section V high school baseball games in the early 1950’s when he lived and served as Police Chief in Wellsville, NY.

     In 1956 Stan moved to Batavia, NY to serve as the city Police Chief, and thus began his involvement in the old Tri-County Umpires Association. At that time he would also serve as President of the Batavia Little League during the late 50's and early 60's.

Stan continued to umpire Section V baseball games well into the late 1970’s, annually “behind the plate” on many Section V championship games. In the mid 1960’s, he started umpiring college baseball games in places like Geneva, Ithaca, Rochester and  Geneseo. Stan would continue to umpire at the college level for nearly 15 years.

Photo Section V Championship 1968

 

     Bruce Johnson served as one of the founding fathers of the Genesee Valley Umpires Association. During his time with the GVUA he served as the Association Secretary/Treasurer from 1966-1973.

     Bruce was a veteran of the Army Air Corps during WWII and the post war occupation of Japan. Upon returning home he enrolled in Cortland State University (class of 51) where he lettered in football and basketball. In 1955 Bruce moved to York Central School where he served as Athletic Director as well as coaching football, basketball, swimming and track. He also served as the Section V Eligibility Officer and Treasurer of the Section V Executive Council.

     Bruce passed away on July 30, 1998 and was survived by his wife Nancy of 48 years. Bruce and Nancy were very proud of their three sons (Steven, Scott, and Dan) as well as their daughter Lynne.

Article Livingston County News 1998

     Russ Brown began his his 35 year career in umpiring with the Genesee Valley Umpires Association in 1960. During his time with the GVUA Russ service as President of the Association in the late 1970's.

     Russ a native of Avon. NY ('46) attended college at Genesee Jr. College ('50) and SUNY Geneseo ('57) with a degree in Elementary Education. He also served 4 years in the United States Air Force from 1950-1953. He went on to teach for the Rush-Henrietta school district for 30 years until his retirement in 1987. He would also officiate basketball for the I.A.A.B.O. for 19 years as well. He would finish up his career in baseball by coaching the Livingston County Inter-Town League guiding the Avon to to the 1984 Eastern Division Championship.

     Russ and his wife Janet have been married for 55 years. Russ is the proud father of two children along with 4 grandchildren.

Article Referee Magazine 1979

     Charles Brown know as "Moocher" to his friends has one of the vibrant figurers of the Genesee Valley Umpires Association during the early years of it's existence. He would go on to be a member of the GVUA for almost 40 year,

     "Moocher" like his fellow Hall of fame member and brother Russ was a native of Avon, NY graduating in 1950. He had a wonderful love for the game and was well respected by his fellow umpires and coaches alike.

     "Moocher" would retire after his umpiring career and move to Avon, Florida. "Moocher's" enjoyed his time in Florida and was an active softball player. His untimely death in 1995 would occur on the ball diamond during a softball game after he had crossed home plate from hitting a home run. As story would have it he would have not had it happen any other way.

Article Avon Herald News 1957

           
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Bob Darch Don Thompson Pete Pegoni Daryl "Deke" Mattison Don Chichester Karl Limner

     Bob Darch has been a presence in Batavia umpiring since 1954 until his retirement in 1999. Bob is remembered for his time served as the GVUA Interpreter. Bob also served as the President of the Tri-County Baseball Umpires Association and played an instrumental roll in the merger between the GVUA and the TRBUA.

     During his umpire career Bob has been engaged at all levels of competition. After returning from the US Navy in 1954 he began to umpire Little League, Babe Ruth and High School games. Bob's career highlight came when he was selected to umpire the NYS Final 4 in 1986, working the Class C semi-finals and the Class A championship contest.

     Bob has also umpired in the Old Genesee Valley Semi-pro league during the late 60's and early 70's. Bob also served as a stand-by umpire for the New York Penn League's Batavia Clippers in the late 1970's. Bob also had a roll as an umpire in the 1983 film "The Natural" starting Robert Redford and Robert Duval.

     Article Batavia Daily News 1980

     Don Thompson service with the GVUA spanned over the course 45 years (1955-1999) with some time off to pursuit his love for coaching baseball at Keshequa. Don also took time toward his 4 children, numerous grandchildren and was married for 50 years and widowed (Mary J) in 2006. During his time with the GVUA Don served in of rolls most noticeably as a Vice President during the late 80’s into the early 90’s.

     Don’s connection to Section V Athletics and Keshequa High School dates back to his high school playing days when he was a standout three sport athlete in baseball, soccer and basketball. Don went onto attend SUNY Brockport (’51) as a two sports athlete in soccer and baseball as well as earning his degree in Health and Physical Education. After three years as a US Army Staff Sergeant (52-54) he returned to Nunda where he would teach PE, coach baseball, soccer, basketball as well as serve as Athletic Director and would retire from Keshequa in 1986.

     Don played an active roll in the Nunda community including his 50+ year service in organizations like: Nunda Station Masonic Lodge #682, VFW Post# 8961, Nunda Fire Department, Inc, Nunda Rotary Club, Nunda Volunteer Ambulance Service. Other accolades include a 1996 inducted into the SUNY Brockport Athletics “Hall of Fame”, and the 2002 Nunda Senior Citizen of the Year. In 2004 the Keshequa School Board dedicated (Gym Photo) the Dalton Gymnasium in Donald’s name.

Keshequa Plaque Inscription 2004

     Pete Pegoni served 25 years (1983-2007) as an active member of the GVUA. Pete served on the Executive Board as a Membership representative from 1998-2007.  As a native of Rochester he started his playing career in the Genesee Valley Little League, three year varsity member at Madison HS (Class of '62, Semi-Pro league in the mid 60’s and was capped off with a try-out for the St. Louis Cardinals.

     Pete’s experiences as an umpire ranks with the all time greats of the GVUA. He was selected to umpire the 1995 NYS final 4 where he did the Class D semi-final and was chosen to work the plate of the Class A championship game. Pete also worked 12 Section V Championship games as well as 21 straight post season tournaments. He also worked the 1999 & 2006 NYS Little League state championships as well as a substitute umpire in the New York Penn League during the late 90’s.

     Pete is survived by his wife Joyce of 40+ years who were married in 1970. They are the proud parents of two daughters (Colleen and Jennifer) as well as 5 grandchildren (Clark Andre 12, Will Andre 10, Alaina Andre 8, Nathan Sikorski 6 and Alex Sikorski 4). Pete retired from Delco Products in 2004 after 35 years of service to General Motors.

Article Batavia Daily News 1995

Photo NY-P 1996 & Photo NY-P 1998

Daryl "Deke" Mattison served as a member of the Genesee Valley Umpires Association from 1973 through 1987. Deke was recruited by HOF member Bruce Johnson who he worked with at York CSD where he served as JV football and basketball coach. Deke served as a member of the GVUA Executive Board as the Secretary/Treasurer for a decade spanning through the late 70's through the late 80's replacing long time friend and mentor Bruce Johnson.

Deke began his umpire career in 1969 while a member of the Corning Little League and Bath Ruth leagues. Upon his graduation from SUNY Brockport accepted a sixth grade teaching position at the York Central School district which he held for 15 years. During his umpire career Deke worked 2 NYS Championships in Glenn Falls and officiated multiple Section V Championships at the old Silver Stadium in Rochester. He also served as the Umpire-in-Chief at the Softball Unlimited Park in Wadsworth for several years. Deke also played an key roll that allowed the GVUA to serve HS softball throughout the Tri-County region soon after the inception of Title IX.

In 1987 Deke accepted the position of Principal at York Central Schools. As result of taking his first administrative position Deke would umpire his final game for the GVUA in 1987. He would go on to serve as Principal at the Cincinnatus Central Schools and at the Oakfield-Alabama  schools prior to his retirement in 2002. After an 18 month tour of the United States, Deke again found himself in administration where he accepted a Principal position with the Collier County schools in Naples Florida.

Deke married his high school sweetheart, Mary Jo and they are the proud parents of Ryan (2002 Batavia HS grad) anf IT manager in Orlando and Melanie Schmitz who lives in Sanford, NC with her husband Rodney and two children Madison and Ian. Deke currently lives in Naples Florida where he serves as the President of the community Board of Directors 

Donald A. “Sonny” Chichester (1924-1995) was an instrumental part in the formation of the GVUA.  He served as Vice President of the GVUA and played an active role as an umpire during the formative years of the association.  In addition, he was the LCAA Baseball Chairman, as well as a very noted and successful baseball coach at Mt. Morris HS

 

Sonny was a lifelong resident of Mt. Morris where he was an outstanding athlete having excelled in baseball, basketball, soccer, table tennis and tennis.  He enlisted in the Army and served in WW 2, where he was a POW, captured during the Battle of the Bulge. He ultimately escaped with two others from the German prison camp.

 

Upon his returned home he graduated from Ithaca College, married his high school sweetheart, Angela D’Imperio, raised his family (Don, Carol Jean (CJ) and Tom), and got the only job he ever wanted.  Hired by Mt. Morris, he served as Athletic Director, PE teacher, and coach for 30 years (1949-1979).  An amazing fact is that he coached each sport season for each of his 30 years--right up to his retirement.  

 

Sonny’s love of the game, the GVUA and people were evident to all who knew him. This proud yet humble man never measured success by wins and losses.  Few were more competitive on the field or more humble in victory and gracious in defeat.   Under his leadership, his teams won 6 Section V Baseball championships, 3 Section V Basketball championships, and 20 Livingston County baseball championships. 

 

At the time of his untimely death in 1995 the “Coach Chi” scholarship fund was established by donations and contributions from the many whose lives he touched.   This scholarship award continues today, giving recognition to a deserving graduate and tribute to the memory of Coach Donald A. Chichester.

Karl Limner joined the GVUA in 1978 and retired from umpiring after the 1992 season.  During his time in the Association, Karl served as President and Vice President.

Karl was born and brought up in Lodi, NY where he pitched for Ovid Central School.  After graduation, Karl entered the United States Marine Corp.  During his service to our Country, he spent 13 months in Korea in the Advisory Service during the Korean Conflict.  After the Marines, Karl attended RIT and joined the New York State Police where he worked for over 25 years and retired in 1983.  Karl then went to work for the Federal Court System in Rochester for 10 years.  Karl earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Empire State College.

Karl’s first experience umpiring was when Stan Smith (GVUA HOF 2012 member) asked him to umpire a Little League game in Batavia.  Karl was active in Cal-Mum youth baseball and football with his Babe Ruth team winning the baseball championship in 1977.  It was after that championship season, Dick Wells (long time member of the GVUA) convinced Karl to join the GVUA.  Karl is very appreciative of Dick’s encouragement to become an umpire.

Karl served 18 years as Judge for the Town of Caledonia.  In 2005, Karl was the Cal-Mum Lions Club Citizen of the year.

The proudest part of Karl’s life is his family.  He and his wife Carol were married over 51 years.  They raised their 5 children (Karen, Mary Ellen, John, Ann Marie & Tim) and enjoyed watching their 10 grandchildren grow up.  Currently, Karl has one great grandchild.

 

 

           
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Larry Reed Joe Miller Roger Riemer

Bob Ruter

   

   

Larry Reed was born and raised in Caledonia N.Y. He attended Cal-Mum and the University at Buffalo. Larry started his teaching career in LeRoy in 1968 and worked there his entire career until he retired in 1999.

He got involved in umpiring by doing little league games in Caledonia while still in high school. He continued to officiate while in college and joined the GVUA in the early 1970’s. Larry moved up through the ranks working several sectional baseball games including a couple of sectional finals at Silver Stadium at the old Norton street field. Larry also served as the rules interpreter for the GVUA as well as the assignor for games.

When high school softball began to really take off, Larry, Deke Matteson, and Marv Parker helped organize the GVWUA to provide coverage to the girls’ softball games. Larry also served as an umpire, chairman, and rules interpreter for the new organization through the 1980’s.

Larry currently lives in Caledonia with his family and friends and enjoys golf and watching his grandsons play baseball.

 

Joe Miller was born and raised in Fillmore, NY (Class '67). He was a 3 sport athlete participating in Baseball, basketball and Soccer. Spent the next 44 years (retired 2011) working for Rochester Gas & Electric Company. Currently married to his wife Janice and approaching their 50th anniversary (9/2/67). They have a son Joe II and a daughter Joleen as well as two grandsons and one grand daughter.

Joe played, coached and umpired for Little League since 1956 at the age of 13 in Fillmore on the Hank Miller Memorial field which is named after his father. He has was a member of the NYSBUA in both the GVUA and Allegany (president) Boards for well over 4 decades. During that time he also served as an NCAA umpire as a member of the ECAC Association. Also on multiple occasion he had served as a fill-in umpire for NY-Penn League in Jamestown and Batavia. A crowning achievement for NYSBUA was being chosen as the 2002, NYS 'Tony DiVevo' Umpire of the Year.

Joe's amazing umpire resume includes the following accomplishments for Little League International; Little League World Series 1998 (Williamsport PA), Senior League World Series 1994 (Kissimee FL), Regional assignments '93, 95, 96, 97, 98, 01, State Finals assignments 95, 97, 99, 01, 02. His High School career includes NYS Championship game 1998, 1996. Worked multiple Sectional Finals, State Qualifiers and Western Regional contest. Additional honors include the CABA World Series '02, Empire state Games '02, '03 and NYS Final for Cal Ripken '2003

Joe Currently lives in Fillmore with his wife and family and would like to thank his wife Jancie for all her support over the years!

Roger Riemer was a staple within the GVUA over the course of 4 decades. Starting his umpire career in 1971 when his old High School coach Arnold Hartson introduced to GVUA member Larry Conti.

Baseball has been a family activity within the Riemer family for decades. Rogers over his 33 year career which concluded in 2003 was chosen to work 3 Section V Championship games played at the old Silver Stadium. Roger himself played in the 1955 sectional final at Silver Stadium and all three of his boys would also go on to play in Sectional Finals at Silver Stadium as well in their careers.

His sons Rob (MCC), Tim (MCC) and Todd (GCC) all went on to play at the collegiate level. Both went on to be drafted Rob by the San Francisco Giants 1986 and Tim the Cleveland Indians in 1989 where he would play in the NY-Penn League with Watertown. Roger would go on to join Tim who coached Newark Bandits of the North Atlantic League as an assistant coach.

Roger has been married to his wife Valerie for 51 years. They have three sons Rob, Tim, Todd as well as 4 grandson and 2 granddaughters.

Photo - Plate Conference at Lyndonville with Don Grabowski and Coaches John Hayes & Mark Hughes

Article - August 1975 "Peoples Forum"

Bob Ruter was born and raised in Addison, NY in the County of Steuben. He was a two sport athlete playing basketball and baseball (pitcher/shortstop) and also played for the Corning Babe Ruth league.

After graduation he joined the United States Army for three years and was stationed in Germany and Vietnam. After his discharge from the military he began a career at General Motors that would span 35 years until his retirement in 2002.

After umpiring & coaching his children in the Avon Little League for 10 years he was approached by GVUA HOF member Russ Brown to get involved in umpiring. That involvement beginning in 1982 would span 33 year until his retirement from active umpiring in 2015. During his time he served 4 years as the Vice President and two terms as President of the GVUA from 1997-2001.

During his tenure Bob was selected to work the NYS championships in 1988, worked 5 WNY Regional games and well over a dozen Section V Championship games. Bob was instrumental in the unification of the Livingston/Batavia merger in 1997 as well as the NYS Umpire of the year nomination of Joe Miller.

Bob married Jeanna in 1969 and they reside in Avon. They are the proud parents of Russell (Suzanne) and Diana (Kenny) along with 5 wonderful grandchildren (Malachy, Evan, Madeline and the twins Jack and Lily) Bob is also the Past President of the Avon Rotary Lions Ambulance Corp. where he volunteered for 22 years and now looks forward to spending time watching grandchildren and enjoying boating at Keuka Lake.