MANCHESTER, N.H. – Next Thursday night, a ceremony will be held at Gill Stadium to honor local baseball and softball legend Raymond “Ray” Valliere Sr.
In 1947, his family enrolled him in what is now Trinity High School and he lettered in baseball, basketball and football until graduation in 1951. He then joined the Navy and served in the Korean War before returning to Manchester.
Soon, he earned degrees from what is now Southern New Hampshire University and the University of New Hampshire and worked at the New Hampshire Union Leader and eventually City of Manchester’s Office of Youth Services.
He also returned to the world of Manchester youth baseball, playing a key role in Sweeney Post’s trip to the American League World Series in 1968 as well as serving as an umpire with the New Hampshire Baseball Umpires Association and eventually the New Hampshire Softball Umpires Association. To date, Valliere is the only person to umpire in each of the four divisional New Hampshire state championship games in baseball and softball.
Valliere was named to the New Hampshire Softball Umpires Association Hall of Fame in 2000, was named USA Baseball Umpire of the Year in 1987, umpired at the 1984 Babe Ruth World Series, the 1990 Goodwill Games and was selected to umpire at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, which he could not attend due to heart surgery.
He also served as the Umpire in Chief of the International Baseball Association from 1992 to 1997.
A ceremony commemorating plaques at the stadium will be held near the main entrance to the stadium’s grandstands at 5:30, followed by an American Legion baseball game between Sweeney Post and Keene’s Gordon Bissell Post at 6.