Donatelli flew 18 missions as a tailgunner before being shot down over Europe. While a POW in a German Stalag, he began umpiring softball games. He reached the ML in 1958 and stayed for 24 years. Donatelli was one of the leaders in the formation of the Umpires’ Association. He was the plate umpire in Game Four of the 1957 WS when the Braves Nippy Jones insisted a called ball had really hit him in the foot. Jones proved his case by showing Donatelli the shoe polish on the baseball and was awarded first base.