Why baseball umpire Joe West got a big salary

DHe more than a century of history of professional baseball in the United States has repeatedly produced problems that ordinary courts have had to intervene. Almost legendary and filmed in Hollywood: the scandal surrounding the postponed 1919 final series. The Chicago White Sox professionals who were accused at the time were acquitted by a jury. But the all-powerful commissioner banned the players involved anyway. And for life.

The most famous of them, outfielder extraordinaire “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, was never inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Because the Hall of Fame is extremely strict about the moral status of the aspirants. The treatment that prominent representatives of the doping generation of the last twenty years are currently experiencing.

MLB’s most prominent umpire feared a similar fate. Joe West, who has been the so-called umpire in more than 5,000 games since 1976 and wants to erase in the coming weeks the old record of 5,370 games set by a certain Bill Klem in the first half of the last century. the accusation in question, but don’t let it sit on you. He would like to be inducted into the Hall of Famers.


Good reputation, bad referee: Joe West in a match during the corona pandemic.
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Photo: AP

It was offered by former catcher Paul Lo Duca, who has signed with four teams in his ten-year career, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets. And whose name once appeared in the league’s internal doping investigation in connection with the consumption of growth hormone. Lo Duca’s allegation in a 2019 podcast interview was that West took a bribe from the designated hitter to manipulate the outcome of the games.

Proven false claims

Umpire Joe West, who was also the head of the baseball umpires association, then went to court in New York for damage to his reputation. He fought the conviction for his life last year. Last week there was an awesome bonus: a $500,000 damages settlement. The judge, who is also a baseball-savvy attorney, emphasized in his reasoning that “integrity and character are the most important standards” involved in being inducted into the Hall of Fame, even linking to “Shoeless” Joe and other notable baseball outlaws.

The ruling makes it clear that Lo Duca’s allegations of fraud were demonstrably false. He had claimed to have been fired fifteen times in his career, eight of which were by West. The evidence showed that the figures were fictitious. The former professional was kicked only eight times in total. And West had only put him off once.

The handsome compensation equivalent to the annual salary of a longtime major league baseball umpire is calculated in two installments. The half is intended to compensate you for the “mental pain and emotional distress” you suffered. The other covers the costs now incurred as West employs online reputation management experts to wipe all traces of false accusations from the Internet. The amount is still well below the $11.9 million demanded by West’s attorney.

And whether he’ll ever see an inch is doubtful. Lo Duca flatly ignored the civil suit and was convicted in absentia. West plans to retire this year at age 68. But even after that, the controversial referee’s memory lives on. A recent Boston University study found that few in the league miss as often as West. In the last 11 years, the judge made an average of 21 wrong decisions. That corresponds to 2.3 per batch.

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