Monday, April 6, 2015

Joe West Becomes Longest-Tenured MLB Umpire

Joe West is now MLB's longest-tenured umpire with 38 years of service in which West worked at least one Major League game. With his first game of 2015 in Detroit, Cowboy Joe surpassed the mark of 37 years held by umpires Bruce Froemming and Hall of Famer Bill Klem, who remain the only two people to have officiated over 5,000 games at the big-league level (Klem called 5,372 games, Froemming 5,163; As of Opening Day 2015, West umpired 4,684 MLB games). West has worked under six of the 10 Commissioners in MLB history and has umpired on the field alongside 51 Hall of Famers, including umpires Nestor Chylak and "God" Doug Harvey.

Joe flexes after being hit by a foul ball
West also has officiated the second-most Postseason games in MLB history (114), second to fellow veteran Gerry Davis (128 games). Froemming made 11 postseason appearances while Klem visited October 103 times (all World Series games), including every year from 1911 through 1915, an MLB record. He is the most popular draft choice in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's Crew Chief Division.

Klem retains the ejection crown with 277 career ejections, compared to West's mark of 158 (Country Joe's Spring Training ejection of AJ Pierzynski doesn't count...his 2014 Ejection of the Year of Jonathan Papelbon does), while West's patented West Vest chest protector and related Wilson products are used by more than 95% of the Major League staff. West is president of the World Umpires Association, which in December (and ratified in January), reached agreement on a five-year collective bargaining agreement with MLB, said to be the largest sports officiating CBA in history.

West's crew for 2015 includes Kerwin Danley, Rob Drake, and DJ Reyburn.


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