The Futures League


Vermont Lake Monsters Manager Pete Wilk Fights to the End

WEYMOUTH, Mass. (April 3, 2024) 一 The Futures League mourns the passing of Pete Wilk, a beloved member of the baseball community who most recently served as the field manager of the Vermont Lake Monsters since they joined the league in 2021. Wilk lost his 15-month battle with Glioblastoma — a form of brain cancer — last night in Virginia.

“In just a short amount of time, Pete has made an enormous impact on the Futures League,” Commissioner Joe Paolucci said. “He treated everyone in his path with the utmost respect and dignity. Everyone in the Futures League is going to miss him dearly. However, we will all make sure his memory lives on every summer.”

Just last month, the Futures League announced the creation of the Pete Wilk Award which will debut following the conclusion of the 2024 season. The award will be given out to a persevering individual who has overcome injury, illness or personal tragedy to make an impact for their team on or off the field, as that is exactly what Wilk did throughout his life.

An instrumental figure in the Futures League throughout his time in Vermont, Wilk had undergone treatment at the Duke Cancer Center’s Brain Tumor Clinic since his diagnosis in February of 2023 and returned to Vermont along with his wife and two daughters to spend the final few weeks of the season with the Lake Monsters in Burlington.

Wilk’s battle and return to the Lake Monsters not only greatly inspired the entire Futures League family, but helped his team on the field as well. Vermont enjoyed yet another successful season in 2023, finishing second in the regular-season standings before making a third consecutive championship appearance.

“It is with great sadness to share that our manager Pete Wilk lost his battle to cancer last evening after a courageous battle, fighting for 15 months. He will forever be in our hearts and his spirit will continue to grace the diamond of Centennial Field,” Lake Monsters Senior Vice President C.J. Knudsen said in the team’s statement. “Our thoughts are with his wife Erin and two daughters (Reese, Casey), who will always be a part of our Vermont Lake Monsters family.”

“It's a very sad day for the Lake Monster community,” said Lake Monsters President Chris English. “As a Head Coach, Pete Wilk was straight out of central casting, strong and commanding of respect, but compassionate with those who struggled. He was a great leader, teacher, and an inspiration in overcoming adversity. It was such a joy having Pete, Erin and his daughters at the ballpark. We will miss him terribly.”

The Lake Monsters organization has done tremendous work to champion Wilk’s cause, highlighted by a special “Dig In For Pete” promotional night on July 8, 2023 that raised a total of $20,000. Vermont’s players wore pink jerseys with Wilk’s name and No. 45 on the back that were auctioned off following that night’s game, an event that was recognized as the Futures League’s Best Community Promotion last season. The team has also continuously sold “Dig In For Pete” bracelets.

Wilk became the first two-time Futures League Manager of the Year after receiving the award in both 2021 and 2022. The Lake Monsters set single-season league records for wins in both of those seasons, the first of which resulted in a championship.

The Barrington, R.I., native is the winningest head coach in Georgetown University baseball history, having compiled 426 victories in 21 seasons (2000-20) with the Hoyas before being hired by Vermont. A 1987 graduate of Rollins College, where he played baseball for four years, Wilk also spent time as an assistant coach at Boston University, Harvard University and Georgetown.

Condolences and donations for Pete’s family can be done at the following: