Move over Tom Brady, there’s a new retirement in the news, and it belongs to MLB umpire Joe West. After 46 years, 43 seasons, and over 5,000 games West is officially calling it quits.
West holds the record for most MLB games umpired all time. His first ever game was September 14, 1976. West umpired third base for a game between the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros. His final game came on October 6, 2021, as West worked behind home plate for the National League Wild Card Game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals. West set the record for most MLB games umpired May 25, 2021 working behind the plate at a game between the Cardinals and Chicago White Sox. The record was previously held by Bill Klem, who umpired in the National League between 1905 and 1941.
News of West’s retirement was met with mixed reactions on social media. While several fans only remember West for the bad moments of his career, others chose to look back fondly at some of his more iconic moments.
In a way, West’s retirement marks the end of an era for baseball. Never again will we get to clown West for making a bad call or getting his undies in a bunch over a pitcher questioning one of his calls. Although with every door closed, another one opens. In wake of West’s retirement — along with four other MLB umpires (Fieldin Culbreth, Kerwin Danley, Gerry Davis, and Brian Gorman) — a new set of umpires was introduced.
One of the new umpires is 37-year-old Roberto Ortiz. He will become the first Puerto Rican-born full-time umpire in MLB history. While Ortiz does have 411 career MLB games under his belt as a call-up umpire, he will officially join the MLB officiating crew next season. Of course, we don’t know exactly when his first full-time appearance will be since we don’t know when the MLB season will start. Nonetheless, this is a big moment for the MLB Umpires Association.