Hirschbeck is a native of Poland, Ohio and still resides in the state, making the journey to Cleveland to visit his crew an obvious choice.
In March, the UEFL reported John Hirschbeck's placement on the Umpires' Disabled List due to a return of testicular cancer, whose associated tumor was surgically removed in late 2009. At the time, doctors had predicted a 10 percent chance of the cancer's return.
In July, Hirschbeck participated in the Circle of Friends Celebrity Golf Classic at Lake Club in Poland, a joint venture between local NFL players and and MLB umpires that raised approximately $50,000 for charity. During the event, Hirschbeck explained that he was declared cancer-free in June, stating: "I don't have my strength back and I'm on blood thinners, so I can't take the chance to get hit ... I guess the big thing is I've got to make a choice whether I will retire or work two more seasons."
In his attempt to return to baseball, Hirschbeck will hope to accomplish a feat neither of the previous two umpires who appeared on the disabled list have been able to: Plagued by bad knees, 18-year umpire Chuck Meriwether transitioned from the DL to retirement after the 2010 season followed by Bill Hohn in early 2012, who retired due to persistent problems with his back, which had caused him to miss games in the past. Following his retirement, Meriwether was hired by the Office of the Commissioner as an Umpire Supervisor, joining Ed Montague as 2011 rookies in that position.
Joining Hirschbeck at the fundraiser was fellow MLB umpire Wally Bell and, from the NFL, Cleveland Browns offensive lineman John Greco, Bills wide receiver Brad Smith, Colts OL Mike McGlynn, Eagles defensive backs coach Michael Zordich and former players L.C. Greenwood and Kevin Mack, who all have ties to the Poland, Ohio region.
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