To say that Peter and Rita Carfagna are life partners is far from an exaggeration. After 43 years together, the Carfagnas share the same passions for family, religion and baseball. “We didn’t meet until the first grade,” laughs Peter. “But, she didn’t fall for me until the second grade.” Their partnership seamlessly carries over into busines. Rita serves as majority owner of the Lake County Captains Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians and Peter is the team president. The couple’s community involvement ranges from the United Way to Catholic Charities to their alma maters of Beaumont School and St. Ignatius.
Family Ties: With three sons and a daughter who all live close to the Carfagna’s home in Shaker Heights, family takes precedence. “It’s all family, all of the time; it always has been and always will be,” says Peter. “Rita is very connected to her siblings, as am I.” Weekend family dinners are a tradition, and during the summer, seven grandchildren are treated to what the couple calls Camp Carfagna during the week.
Good Faith: “Faith is the foundation of our family,” says Peter. “What brought us together was family and church. Those are the two constants about our lives together.” The Carfagnas are longtime supporters of their hometown parish St. Dominic’s, and Rita is involved with the Parma Jesuit Retreat Center.
Back to School: The Carfagnas have established merit and need-based scholarships at their alma maters. Since 2013, they have directed the Beaumont School’s Merici Challenge Scholarship Program, supporting more than 100 students. Last June, the Carfagna Family Magis Athletic Center was dedicated at St. Ignatius. “We’re both very active with our alma maters,” says Rita.
Play Ball: “A lot of Carfagnas grew up to be Indians fans,” says Peter. “I’m a lifelong fan. I would keep score at all the games.” The 2020 season will be the Carfagna’s 18th with the Captains in Eastlake, a team that has fielded such Tribe standouts as Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Roberto Perez.
Field of Dreams: Along with longtime partner Lake Health, the Carfagnas established a challenger baseball program, the Miracle League, for children and young adults with special needs. Games are held on a small field beyond the outfield, with eight teams competing last year. “When they (Lake Health) have an idea, we listen,” says Peter. The Captains host Lake Health’s biggest fundraiser, The Glitz, each fall, and their family foundation, Captains Charities, works with local causes.
Back to Nature: Having lived in the Shaker Heights community all of their lives, it’s only natural that the Carfagnas are boosters of the Nature Center at Shaker Heights, which is just a short walk from their home. “There’s such a great quality of life in Shaker,” says Rita, who co-chairs the Nature Center fundraising campaign with her husband.
Love Story: Peter, the former chief legal officer and general counsel for IMG Worldwide Inc., says Rita’s sense of humor is a key element in their relationship. “She has a great ability to laugh at me and herself, in that order,” he says. “We’re best friends.”