Friday, July 17, 2020

Former Umpire Rick Reed Dies at the Age of 70

Rick Reed, the MLB umpire who survived two strokes during his umpiring career, died Thursday at the age of 70.

The Detroit native officiated his first American League game in 1979, later serving as a crew chief across Major League Baseball until his 2009 retirement. In May 2008, Reed suffered a stroke, followed by another in February 2009.

He would return to officiate 41 games in his final season before retiring after 3,392 regular season games and 31 years of big league service, which included three Division Series (1997, 2000, 01), three League Championship Series (1989, 95, 99), and the 1991 World Series, working as an umpire when Kirby Puckett hit a walk-off home run in Game 6 to win it for the Twins. Reed ejected a total of 71 players, coaches, and managers during his career.

After his retirement, Reed joined Major League Baseball as its Detroit umpire observer and evaluated umpires as they officiated games at Comerica Park. He also served as an observer for basketball referees in the NCAA Division I's Summit League Conference.

Prior to umpire school, Reed took a sports officiating class at Eastern Michigan University, explaining his 'A' grade helped pique his interest in the profession.

He appeared in the film For Love of the Game, where he played—what else—the home plate umpire, recalling in a 2010 interview that he was hit by a pitch in the mask 13 times during rehearsal so that catcher John C. Reilly's miss would look convincing.


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