Sunday, January 14, 2018

Hall of Fame and Former NL Umpire Doug Harvey Dies

National Baseball Hall of Fame umpire Harold Doug "God" Harvey has passed away at the age of 87. Harvey, who officiated 4,673 regular season National League games from 1962-1992, joined the California League in 1958, at the age of 28, and worked in the Pacific Coast League prior to his NL hiring.

Born in South Gate, California on March 13, 1930 to Harold Wollen (a former minor league umpire himself) and Target Mae Harvey, Doug Harvey began his sports officiating career as a high school basketball referee at the age of 16.

A San Diego State College alum, Harvey played collegiate baseball, basketball, and football, opting to pursue umpiring after leaving SD State, landing placement in the California League soon thereafter.

Doug Harvey has died.
After a rapid ascent to Triple-A's PCL in 1961, he was hired to the NL staff in 1962 at the age of 32, becoming the first major league umpire of Native American ancestry to officiate at baseball's highest level, and the last not to have first attended professional umpire school.

The Silver Fox remained a San Diego resident throughout his professional umpiring career, was voted the NL's best umpire in a 1974 Major League Player's Association poll, best umpire once again in a 1990 Sport magazine ranking, and officiated five All-Star games, nine National League Championship Series, and five World Series by the time he retired from baseball in 1992, due in part to failing knees. His former sleeve #8 is presently worn by Major League crew chief Jeff Kellogg.
Doug Harvey's Hall of Fame plaque.

Having often used chewing tobacco, Harvey in 1997 was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, an ailment which impacted his 2010 Hall of Fame induction ceremony speech, and necessitated the use of pre-recorded video to accept the induction.

He concluded his career with 58 ejections, his first on May 9, 1962 (Milwaukee catcher Joe Torre), and his final on September 16, 1992 (Cardinals Manager, the same Joe Torre).

Residents of Southern California could easily tell who and where Harvey was thanks to his personalized license plate, which Harvey customized to read "NL UMP."

Following his career, Harvey published a memoir entitled, They Called Me God: The Best Umpire Who Ever Lived, recounting tales from his three decades on the field.

After the Veterans Committee elected him to the Hall of Fame in 2010, the California League celebrated his induction with the creation of its Doug Harvey Award, which honors the Cal League's Umpire of the Year; the California League is the only professional league to annually honor an umpire.

The Single-A California League later named Harvey to its 2017 Hall of Fame class.
Related Post: Doug Harvey Set for CAL League Hall of Fame Induction (6/16/17).

Harold Douglas Harvey was 87 years old; his wife has confirmed he passed from natural causes.


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