CEDAR RAPIDS — Longtime local baseball umpire and Cedar Rapids Kernels housing coordinator Lanny Peterson passed away Thursday after a lengthy illness. He was 73.
A teacher and insurance agent in his professional life, Peterson also was a deacon at St. Pius X Catholic Parish in Cedar Rapids. He was inducted into the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame and has an IHSBCA award named after him that goes to an outstanding player/student each year.
Peterson was inducted into the Cedar Rapids Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015 for his extensive contributions to the ballclub. He became a housing parent in 1997 and eventually took over coordinator’s duties for the Kernels housing program, making certain every player, coach and staff member had a rent-free place to live during the season.
That is the exception in the minor leagues.
“What a loss,” said Kernels CEO Doug Nelson. “Lanny meant everything to the ballclub. He created a housing parent program here that is second to none in minor league baseball and is the model for housing parent programs in minor league baseball.
“Bob and Verna Nance really began our program here in the 1960s, but Lanny just took it to a whole other level.”
Peterson would attend spring training each season and interview potential Kernels players in order to find the best fit for them once they got to Cedar Rapids.
“To provide a positive home-like atmosphere for young men while they pursue their dream of someday playing baseball in the major leagues,” was the housing program’s mission statement he created.
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“We receive more than what we give,” Peterson said in his C.R. Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech. “And we have these relationships that last throughout our lives.”
A Rembrandt, Iowa, native, Peterson is survived by seven stepchildren, 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
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