After 44 seasons in MLB, umpire Joe West finally called it quits.
Joe West officially retired today from umpiring in the MLB.
What was your favorite (or not so favorite) memory involving West’s 44 year career ? pic.twitter.com/RuXrDinplF
— Slasher Sports (@SlasherSports) February 4, 2022
One of the game’s most recognizable umpires, West leaves baseball with an extremely polarizing reputation.
Fans really don’t rate him too highly when it comes to current umpires, and the players are divided in their opinion of him.
Players have been polled several times to see what they think about specific MLB umpires.
Sports Illustrated conducted one poll in 2006, among 470 players.
Two percent of the players named him the best umpire, and six percent identified him as the worst.
He ranked ninth on the former list and only three were named more frequently than him in the latter.
However, The Hardball Times named him, after reviewing the umpires’ strike zones, as the most consistent one.
His popularity among players got worse in a 2011 poll, in which five percent of them named him the best umpire and 41 percent had him as the worst.
More recent studies have him as one of the umpires with the highest percentage of bad calls.
In any case, his longevity and resume are impressive.
An Impressive Resume
He has participated in three All-Star Games (1987, 2005, 2017), four Wild Card Games (2013, 2014, 2020, 2021), eight Division Series (1995, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016), ten League Championship Series (1981, 1986, 1988, 1993, 1996, 2003, 2004, 2013, 2014, 2018), and six World Series (1992, 1997, 2005, 2009, 2012, 2016).
He also officiated in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
No one in the history of MLB has more seasons as an umpire than West, with 44.
Additionally, nobody has participated in more games than him, 5,460.
He worked in several no-hitters, and one perfect game: the one Felix Hernandez threw with the Seattle Mariners in 2012.
The North Carolina native started as an MLB umpire back in 1976, in the National League, and entered the official staff a couple of years later.
Players and fans may not have him in high esteem, but the reality indicates he is well-respected among fellow umpires.
He was the president of the MLB Umpires Association (MLBUA) until 2018.
As the leader of the MLBUA, he helped secure the best umpiring contract in history for the men in blue.
A New Chapter
44 years is a long time, even for umpiring, and as a result, everybody in the game from fans to players, executives, and media have formed a different opinion of West.
It also needs to be said he left some moments that will be remembered forever, and some funny ones, too.
My favorite Joe West Highlight. pic.twitter.com/IafyA1Mg9b
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) February 4, 2022
All things considered, he managed to have his name mentioned a lot in baseball circles, in an industry in which players, for obvious reasons, usually get the headlines.
People will remember his name and all his contributions to baseball.
The former quarterback and baseball player will now live enjoy life without the frequent name-calling and disrespect shown by players and managers.
He enjoys country music (he is not called ‘Cowboy Joe’ for nothing!) and actually sings.
He is a cancer survivor, so he surely had enough strength to cope with the challenges of umpiring.
He wasn’t perfect by all means, but he will be remembered by the whole baseball community, and everybody wishes him a happy retirement after all those years.