Joe West, one of baseball’s most well-known umpires, is reportedly retiring at the end of the 2021 season.
According to The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, West will call it a career after the campaign. In May, he set the MLB record for most games umpired with his 5,376th game.
Joe West on the plate tonight. He plans to retire after the season, so this could well be his last game at Fenway.
West, 68, has been an MLB umpire since 1976. He’s the man who called Dave Roberts safe at second in 2004.
“Country Joe” can be combative. But he’s a good umpire.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) September 26, 2021
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West has been around baseball for close to half a century. He made the majors at 23, with his debut game on Sept. 14, 1976.
He has been on the field for multiple milestones, including Nolan Ryan’s fifth no-hitter, Willie McCovey’s 500th home run and Albert Pujols’ 400th home run. He has umpired six World Series and 10 League Championship Series.
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West is also well-known for controversial calls and a varying strike zone, and that was no different during Sunday’s Red Sox-Yankees game. He drew the ire of social media for ringing up Yankees third baseman DJ LeMahieu on a pitch inside.
It all kinda makes sense now:
Joe West➡️ Westworld ➡️ Androids ➡️ Robo-umps
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 27, 2021
According to a study by Boston University relased in 2019, West produced one of the highest rates of bad calls in 2018, with 11.43 percent of his calls being incorrect. The data found that between 2008 and 2018, West averaged 2.3 incorrect calls per inning.
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West recently found himself at odds with a player off the field. He sued former MLB catcher Paul Lo Duca, who claimed former pitcher Billy Wagner bribed West with a chance to drive a vintage car in exchange for a widened strike zone. West sued for defamation, saying the remarks hurt his chances of being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He won the case and was awarded $500,000 plus interest in damages.