Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Joe West Sets MLB Record for Most Games as an Umpire

Since his first major league game in 1976, Joe West has remained a baseball icon, officiating longer than anyone in big league history. On May 25, he passes Hall of Fame umpire Bill Klem for most regular season games officiated in MLB history with 5,376. On this Joe West day 45 years after his big league debut, we look at some accolades and anecdotes from throughout baseball.

USA Today journalist Bob Nightengale wrote an article on the occasion of West's record-setting day, dubbing the 68-year-old West the Lonesome Cowboy, a nod to West's career nickname of the Blue Cowboy, which itself is the title of West's country music CD released in 1987 and recorded in Houston and Gilley's Studio in Pasadena, Texas.

Associated Press reporter Jay Cohen also wrote about the upcoming milestone, as did New York Times author Benjamin Hoffman, and so did Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.

Hawk Harrelson recited his two rules of baseball ("first rule is catch the ball, second rule is don't mess with Joe West") and baseball personalities from Rick Sutcliffe to David Freese reminisced about their on-field adventures with Country Joe.

Even Duane Allen and The Oak Ridge Boys were spotted in Chicago to celebrate West's achievement (and to sing the national anthem for the White Sox).

As for West's recent ejection and other play-calling history, see our related label: Joe West.
Related tribute video to commemorate Joe West's milestone game :


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