Major League Baseball has announced that umpire Tim McClelland is retiring.
McClelland was an umpire for 32-plus years and more than 4,200 games, including 94 Postseason games. After Joe West, he was the second-longest-tenured umpire. He worked four World Series, nine League Championship Series, five Division Series and three All-Star Games. Most famously, he was the home plate umpire for the “Pine Tar Game” between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 24, 1983.
McClelland did not work last year due to a back injury. One presumes that it either did not improve enough for him to return or that, after having a year off, he decided he liked it and it was time to retire. Or a combination of both. Either way, the guy has earned the right to some summers off and more time at home with his family.
Major League Baseball also announced that three new umpires – Tripp Gibson, Will Little and Mark Ripperger – have been named to the full-time Major League Umpiring staff. One of which is, more or less, a replacement for McClelland, the other two because the staff of big league umps has expanded by two, to a total of 76. Current umpires Jerry Meals and Larry Vanover have been promoted to Crew Chief, one taking McClelland’s spot, the other replacing Gary Darling on a full time basis, following Darling’s retirement last season.