We talk often about how you rarely know an MLB umpire’s name if he’s a highly effective one, but I suppose there’s an exception there if it’s a guy who’s been around so long that you couldn’t help but to have heard of him at some point.
And with that in mind, ESPN reports that a huge number of veteran umpires are hanging it up this offseason, the most in over 20 years:
Well-respected crew chiefs Ted Barrett, Greg Gibson, Tom Hallion, Sam Holbrook, Jerry Meals, Jim Reynolds and Bill Welke are among the group to hang up their chest protectors, while Marty Foster, Paul Nauert and Tim Timmons will join them in retirement.
Yes, yes. I know you’re thinking about at least a couple names that AREN’T on that list …
According to the report, the large volume at once is just a coincidence in timing, and is not related to any kind of labor issues or the coming rules changes.
Cubs manager, and long-time big league catcher, David Ross had some very kind words for ESPN: “Such a great group of men. They’re such a big part of our game. Teddy Barrett can defuse any situation. Tom Hallion’s got one of the most aggressive punchouts in the game. You always see him reaching for the sky … one of those signature moves you see all the time. I’ll miss that.”
The sudden openings mean MLB will be able to promote ten new umpires from the minor leagues, where there will already have been familiarity with the new rules, and, in most cases, with the automated balls and strikes system. Could be helpful when that transition begins, as soon as the 2024 season.