Major League Baseball may look a little different next season. That’s not only because of the surprising moves that have transpired this offseason or due to the MLB Rule Changes. Now there will be 10 MLB Umpires retiring at the end of December.
It’s going to be the largest turnover at the Umpire position since 1999.
The list of retirees includes seven crew chiefs. Some of the retirements are due to injuries while others are just coincidental. Well-respected crew chiefs Ted Barrett, Greg Gibson, Tom Hallion, Sam Holbrook, Jerry Meals, Jim Reynolds and Bill Welke are among the group to hang up their chest protectors, while Marty Foster, Paul Nauert and Tim Timmons will join them in retirement.
“I’m so grateful to have the career that I did and to be a part of baseball history,” Barrett said. “I’m incredibly proud of the crews that I worked with and everything baseball provided for me. For all of us.”
The league will promote or hire 10 new umpires next month and is committed to making it a diverse group, but a first-ever female MLB umpire won’t be among them. Jen Pawol could eventually break that barrier, as she worked in Double-A last season.
Joe West, who is potentially the most respected umpire baseball wide retired last year. There was reason to believe that others would follow suit.
“Such a great group of men,” Chicago Cubs manager and former catcher David Ross said. “They’re such a big part of our game. Teddy Barrett can defuse any situation. Tom Hallion’s got one of the most aggressive punchouts in the game. You always see him reaching for the sky … one of those signature moves you see all the time. I’ll miss that.”
The retiring crew chiefs have called 16 World Series, and Barrett leads the way, having worked five Fall Classics. He was also behind the plate for David Cone‘s perfect game in 1999 and Greg Maddux‘s 300th win in 2004.
Meals sat behind the catcher for Kerry Wood‘s 20-strikeout game in 1998 and a Justin Verlander no-hitter in 2011.
Gibson was the first umpire to have a call overturned based on a manager’s challenge in 2014, then later that season was behind the plate for a Clayton Kershaw no-hitter. In all, the retiring umpires have worked over 200 combined MLB seasons.
The last time the league added as many as eight new umpires was in 2014, to account for instant replay. Current crews are part of a rotation that works the instant-replay room in New York.
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