Former Elon College quarterback sets MLB record for Most Games Umpired on Tuesday night

Coming in today from CBSSports.com and by way of Jim Scott, on Facebook….

Major League Baseball umpire Joe West broke Hall of Famer Bill Klem’s record for the most regular-season games by an umpire on Tuesday night when he took the field to call balls and strikes during the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox contest. West now has umpired 5,376 games, eclipsing Klem’s mark of 5,375.

Klem umpired in the National League for 37 years before retiring in 1941, and was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953.

The 68-year-old West made his MLB debut in 1976 at the age of 23, and plans to retire following the 2021 season. During West’s lengthy career — his 43-year tenure ranks as the longest by an MLB umpire — he spent 23 years umpiring in the National League before he moved to covering the entire league in 2002.

Some of West’s notable games include working Nolan Ryan’s fifth career no-hitter in 1981, Willie McCovey’s 500th home run in 1978, Félix Hernández’s perfect game in 2012, and Albert Pujols’ 400th career home run in 2013. West’s career spans six of baseball’s 10 commissioners: Bowie Kuhn, Peter Ueberroth, Bart Giamatti, Fay Vincent, Bud Selig, and Rob Manfred.

West was in the news earlier this year when he was awarded $500,000 in damages in a defamation lawsuit against former MLB catcher Paul Lo Duca.

++++++++++from Johnny Phelps on Facebook:
Johnny Phelps
When he was at Elon, I interviewed him a number of times when he was quarterback. He led Elon to the NAIA National Championship game in 1973, losing to Abilene Christian with Clint Langley(Longley) and Wilbert Montgomery.
I always knew him more as “Cowboy” Joe West rather than “Country”.
Quite a character, and what an umpiring career!

2 comments

  1. from MLB.com:
    Longtime Major League umpire Joe West, known as “Cowboy Joe” for his country music exploits, made history on Tuesday night when he worked the 5,376th regular-season game of his illustrious career, eclipsing Bill Klem’s record that stood for 80 years.

    In honor of West’s country music singing and songwriting, the Oak Ridge Boys sang the national anthem prior to the first pitch of the game and a scoreboard video featuring Garth Brooks and several former and current colleagues of West’s was shown.

    “It was tough to hold back a tear or two, but Tom Hanks said there’s no crying in baseball, so you can’t do it,” West said. “It was a very nice thing to have the Oak Ridge Boys come. They came because they knew this was a special day for me. … So I felt a whole lot of warmth there. That was really nice. I can’t thank everybody enough.

  2. I was a athletic trainer on the 1973 Elon College football team that Joe led the NAIA championship game. He saw things from the opposing defenses that no other QB could see. I also remember him practicing his strike call when second team QB was taking reps. He was the leader of the team.

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