After four decades, Cal Burleson's enthusiasm for Indianapolis Indians baseball remains as strong as ever.
Entering his 43rd year with the organization in 2017, Burleson was named senior vice president of community affairs in November 2016. In this role, he will look to expand on his efforts of relating Indians baseball to community leaders and civic groups.
Under Burleson's leadership, recent years have been among the most successful in Indianapolis Indians history. The organization received back-to-back nods as one of the Best Places to Work in Indiana by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and drew record attendance figures in 2014 (660,289), 2015 (662,536) and topped all of Minor League Baseball in 2016 (636,888).
Burleson was also honored for his outstanding management efforts when the Indians were named the 2013 Triple-A recipients of the Bob Freitas Award, which is presented to the organization with the best overall operations at each level of Minor League Baseball.
Burleson was hired as ticket manager and began with the team on New Year's Day, 1975. He served in that capacity for two years before taking over duties as business manager from 1977-80, publicity director from 1981-86 and assistant general manager from 1987-97.
Burleson then served as the organization's third general manager in its history from 1998-2014 and was twice voted the International League's Executive of the Year. In his previous role as vice president of baseball and administrative affairs, he functions as the team's representative with the Pirates and International League offices.
In addition to his work with the team, Burleson has assumed a leadership role in the local community.
Burleson is a past Chairman of the Board for the American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis, as well as a board member of the Indianapolis and Indiana Chambers of Commerce, the Indianapolis Urban League, and serves on the advisory board of the Military Family Research Institute. He is also currently a board member for Jump IN for Healthy Kids, an initiative aimed at combating childhood obesity in Central Indiana.
His passion for promoting healthy lifestyles for children was a key factor in the development and launch of RightFit - an after-school program that creates an opportunity for elementary school students to build positive relationships with public safety personnel and fight childhood obesity through nutrition-oriented education and physical activity.
Burleson received a bachelor's degree in business administration from Ohio University in 1973 and a master's degree in sports administration from OU in 1974 prior to joining the Indians staff.