Joe West breaks 80 years old MLB record of Most umpired games - Sports history


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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Joe West breaks 80 years old MLB record of Most umpired games

Joe West: Legend MLB umpire sets career record for Most umpired 5,376th regular-season games.

Major League baseball umpire Joe West, known as "Cowboy Joe" for his music exploits, made history on Tuesday night when he umpires the 5,376th regular-season game of his illustrious career, eclipsing Bill Klem's record that stood for 80 years.

West's feat became the top of the fifth inning between the Cardinals and White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, where he was serving as the home-plate umpire. 

He began his Major League umpiring career at age 23 in 1976, and 45 years later, he stands alone atop the all-time games umpired list.

Joe West talks/ quotes after making the record of Most Umpires games in MLB history.

"It was tough to hold back a tear or two, but Tom Hanks said there's no crying in baseball, so you can't do it," West said. "It was a very nice thing to have the Oak Ridge Boys come. They came because they knew this was a special day for me. ... So I felt a whole lot of warmth there. That was really nice. I can't thank everybody enough.

"Even [White Sox owner] Jerry Reinsdorf and [former St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds general manager] Walt Jocketty came in the locker room before the game, and right after that [former MLB commissioner] Peter Ueberroth and Rob Manfred came in. I'm just blown away by how nice everybody's been about this."

"I was behind the plate when Willie McCovey hit his 500th home run," West said. "The only reason I know that is because I saw it on the scoreboard. I was at first base for Nolan Ryan's fifth no-hitter. Nobody ever thought he'd pass Sandy Koufax [four career no-hitters]. You're part of a piece of history every day, and it's a cool thing."


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