BY STEVE KRAH
Indiana’s baseball community lost a great friend with the sudden passing Dec. 18 of Pete Cava at 73.
Indiana broadcast pioneer Reid Duffy may have said it best.
“Pete certainly lived up to the reputation of ‘never meeting a stranger,’” said Duffy, who knew Cava for decades and lived near him in Indianapolis.
When you were his friend, Cava greeted with a warm smile and hand shake that turned into a hug.
So many remember him as their cheerleader. He always seemed to be there with encouraging words of advice.
Cava was sharing stories with friends at an Oscar Charleston Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research planning dinner when he suffered an attack that turned out to be an aortic dissection. He died soon after being rushed to a nearby Methodist Hospital.
Cava lived in Indianapolis for more than 40 years though his New York roots never really left him.
A native of Staten Island, he was born July 26, 1946 and was a New York Yankees fan and a first baseman as a young man. In 1969, he graduated from Fordham University, where he worked in the sports information department.
He served in the U.S. Army, working in the Public Affairs Office of the First Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan. He worked as a sports reporter and a radio program director before joining the Amateur Athletic Union in 1974.
He spent more than 20 years as a media information director for USA Track & Field and also served as a press liaison for the first two editions of the World Baseball Classic, The Athletics Congress, the AAU and other groups.
Cava was a regular at SABR conventions, frequently as a presenter.
The owner of International Sports Associates and a writing and editing specialist, Cava also wrote columns for the Indianapolis Star, Agence France-Presse and the National Scholastic Sports Foundation. He contributed to Baseball America.
Cava could frequently be found in the press box at Indianapolis Indians games or covering high school contests around central Indiana.
He shared his knowledge on Hoosier History Live! on WICR 88.7 FM.
Years ago, Cava coached Little League with Todd Webster, who went on to be head coach at Pike High School.
Later on, Cava kept the scorebook for the Indiana Pony Express travel team.
In recent years, he has covered games for Prep Baseball Report Indiana and has been publicizing his latest book, “Indiana-Born Major League Baseball Players: A Biographical Dictionary, 1871-2014.” It’s a work that took 22 years to complete. He kept readers up-to-date on Indiana-related baseball doings with his weekly Facebook posts. He also authored “Tales from the Cubs Dugout.”
Cava is survived by his wife, Molly, son Andy and daughter Nancy. Visitation is 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2 at Leppert Mortuary, 740 East 86th St., Indianapolis with funeral mass 11:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 3 at St. Luke Catholic Church, 7575 Holliday Drive E., Indianapolis.
Pete Cava (1946-2019) was a fixture on the Indiana and international baseball scene. He died in Indianapolis Dec. 18, 2019.