Friday, September 15, 2017

Last Surviving Negro Leagues Umpire Bob Motley Dies

Less than a month after being honored in LA, the last surviving Negro Leagues Umpire, Bob Motley, has died. A legendary fixture in the national baseball and umpiring communities, Motley was 94.

Bob Motley and Don Newcombe, August 2017.
Motley served with the first-ever black Marine regiment, the Montfort Point Marines, in World War II and umpired in the Negro Leagues from 1947-1958, serving as a chief umpire.

He also officiated collegiate baseball, and was a crew chief in Omaha for the College World Series.

The first African American to attend and graduate from the Al Somers Umpire School, Motley advanced to professional baseball's Pacific Coast League (Triple-A) before an offer from the big leagues during a labor dispute with major league umpires turned Motley off to the idea of working Major League Baseball: succinctly, Motley was a man of principle and he refused to cross a picket line, even if it meant a shot at the big leagues.

Motley was instrumental in creating the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, and was a regular of the Royals family. The NBLM is located just six miles from Kauffman Stadium.


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