10 MLB umpires retire in historic exodus
Ten Major League Baseball umpires, including seven crew chiefs, retired at the end of December — the largest turnover for the position since 1999, ESPN reports.
Why it matters: The 10 umps have worked over 200 combined MLB seasons and 16 World Series — professional experience that won't be easily replaced. MLB will promote their replacements from the minors this month.
The retiring crew chiefs:
- Tom Hallion (29 years of MLB service time): He's been on the field in some capacity for seven no-hitters, which was the most among active umpires.
- Ted Barrett (25 years): Worked five World Series, most among the group retiring. He was behind the plate for David Cone's perfect game in 1999 and Greg Maddux's 300th win in 2004.
- Jerry Meals (24 years): He was behind the plate for Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game in 1998.
- Greg Gibson (23 years): He was behind the plate for Randy Johnson's perfect game in 2004; owns a Kentucky-based insurance company.
- Jim Reynolds (22.5 years): There are costs to being an ump: In the last six years alone, he's had seven concussions because of foul tips.
- Bill Welke (22.5 years): He and his brother Tim were paired on the same crew in 2005 and again from 2008 to 2010.
- Sam Holbrook (21.5 years): He was the home plate umpire for Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, the day the Cubs broke their 108-year curse.
The backdrop: The coming seasons will be a challenge for umpires, as MLB continues to experiment with rule changes and robo-umps inch closer to calling big league games.
- MLB will use a pitch timer in 2023 and it will be on home plate umpires to enforce it.
- Meanwhile, base umpires will have to make sure the new shift rules are being followed.