MAJOR LEAGUE SERVICE TIME: 35 Years
CAREER: Joe's 34 years at the Major League level are the most among all active umpires...finished first in the 1974 Umpire Development Class...began minor league career in the Western Carolinas League and was selected to its Hall of Fame in 2002...worked the Carolina League (1975), Southern League (1975-1976), the American Association (1976-1977) and the Puerto Rican Winter League (1977)...worked first Major League game in September 1976 at age 23...became full-time National League staff member in April 1978...has worked two All-Star Games (1987, 2005), seven Division Series (1995, 2002, 05, 08-09, 11-12), seven League Championship Series (1981, 86, 88, 93, 96, 2003-04) and five World Series (1992, 97, 2005, 09, 12)...worked the San Diego round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic...was the youngest umpire ever to work a NLCS in 1981 at age 28...worked his 4,000th career game on July 30, 2009...his 93 career Postseason games are tied for seventh most all-time...his 4,314 regular season games rank 12th all-time...has umpired games for 23 different Hall of Fame players, two managers who were inducted as players, and six additional Hall of Fame managers...has umpired with two Hall of Fame umpires...has been a Major League Umpire under five of the nine Commissioners in baseball history.
PERSONAL: Born in Asheville, NC in October 1952...played college football at East Carolina (safety on the freshman team) and was three-year starting quarterback at Elon College (now Elon University), where he threw for 4,337 yards and 35 touchdowns, leading the team to three Carolinas Conference Championships and a number two national ranking in NAIA Division 1 in 1973...was named MVP of that 1973 team whose only loss was in the Championship Game (for NAIA Division 1) to Abilene Christian, led by future Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Clint Longley and Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Famer Wilbur Montgomery...Joe was inducted into the Elon Sports Hall of Fame in 1986, in the same class as legendary North Carolina State Women's Basketball Coach Kay Yow...designed all of Wilson Sporting Goods' "high" end umpires equipment and owns the United States, Canadian, Australian, and Japanese patent on the chest protector known worldwide as the "West Vest,'' an endeavor that prompted him to found majorleagueumpires.com...Joe is a member of the Celebrity Players Golf Tour and participates in the "World Series of Golf" held at Pebble Beach the first of December every year.« Back to umpire roster
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