The Futures League


Futures League Establishes Award to Honor Vermont Lake Monsters Manager Pete Wilk

WEYMOUTH, Mass. (March 8, 2024) 一 The Futures League is proud to announce the creation of a new annual award that will be named in honor of Pete Wilk, the beloved Vermont Lake Monsters field manager who has courageously battled cancer over the past year.

Beginning with the 2024 season, the Pete Wilk 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 has done since being diagnosed with Glioblastoma — a form of brain cancer — in February of 2023.

“The Futures League looks forward to presenting this new award in honor of Pete Wilk, whose battle with cancer has been inspiring to so many throughout the baseball community,” Futures League Commissioner Joe Paolucci said. “This award is another way for us to continue to honor everything that Pete has given and support him as he keeps ‘digging in’ against cancer.”

An instrumental figure in the Futures League since the Lake Monsters joined in 2021, Wilk has undergone treatment at the Duke Cancer Center’s Brain Tumor Clinic since his diagnosis and returned to Vermont along with his wife and two daughters at the end of last June. At that time, Wilk returned to his post in the dugout with pitching coach and interim manager Matt Fincher for the remainder of the 2023 season.

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.

The Lake Monsters have 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.

A native of Barrington, R.I., 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. Wilk 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.

“What can I say about Pete Wilk that all of you don’t already know? That he puts family first – it took two years to hire him, and the package deal was we got not only Pete but his wonderful family. That he is a leader of men and advocate for women in sports and in life. That he builds not just skills in our players but character. That he has a remarkable sense of humor, no matter how dire the situation. That he is a champion and doesn’t like to lose. We can’t wait to have Pete and his family back for another championship run,” Lake Monsters President & CEO Chris English said.

English added, “This new award means having the Wilk name associated with the Lake Monsters for the next 100 years and that is fitting given the impact has had on our community.”

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