One of the hottest topics across MLB in recent years is umpires and their future within the sport.
The league has been testing the Automated Ball and Strike system (ABS) in the Minors since 2019, fueling speculation that human umpires will eventually be phased out. Although the system won’t reach the big leagues next season, the consensus is it will be implemented in the near future.
With big change potentially on the horizon, 10 MLB umpires are set to retire at the end of 2022, including seven crew chiefs, the most since 1999, via ESPN’s Jesse Rogers:
Ten MLB umpires, including seven crew chiefs, are set to retire at the end of the month, making it the largest turnover at that job since 1999, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN. Some of the retirements are due to nagging injuries while others are coincidental, as a group of the umpires entered the league around the same time — after a labor dispute saw 22 former umps resign at the end of last century.
Among the umpires retiring include Ted Barrett and Greg Gibson:
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.
The retiring crew chiefs have called a combined 16 World Series, with Barrett leading the way (five). He most notably was behind the plate for David Cone’s perfect game in 1999 and Greg Maddux’s 300th win five years later.
Gibson became 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 Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter.
The retirements reportedly are unrelated to the upcoming rule changes for the 2023 season and the possibility of the ABS system being implemented in the coming years.
MLB plans to promote or hire 10 new umpires next month and is committed to making it a diverse group.
MLB umpires wore microphones & announced replay decision to fans in 2022
For the first time in MLB history, umpires were equipped with microphones to inform crowds in the ballparks and viewing audience at home of decisions after instant replay reviews.
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