Saturday, March 10, 2018

Former NL Umpire and Union Pres Bob Engel Dies

Former Major League Umpires Association president and longtime National League umpire crew chief Bob Engel died in Nevada at the age of 84.

Engel, who officiated 3,630 regular season games from his 1965 debut until his final game in April 1990 and wore uniform #5, was selected to six League Championship Series and three World Series, ejecting 33 players and managers along the way (most common ejectee: Joe Torre and Davey Johnson, two times each).

After college and a stint in the US Army, Engel graduated from George Barr Umpire School in 1956 and was assigned to the Sooner State Class D League, working the California and Pacific Coast Leagues before his call-up to the National League in August 1965 and election to President of the Major League Umpires Association in 1974.

Engel withstood the 1979 umpires' strike, which ultimately afforded modern umpires in-season vacations, retirement plans and pensions, increased salaries, and better accommodation including per diems.

His career ended in controversy, charged with stealing over 4,000 baseball cards, cumulatively valued at $143.98, from Target; though Engel worked games even after being arrested, he eventually pleaded no contest to commercial burglary and petty theft, thus ending his baseball career.

A Bakersfield, CA native, Engel is a member of the Kern County Sports Hall of Fame.


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