Major League Baseball announced on Sunday that umpire Eric Cooper has died at the age of 52. The cause of death is not yet known.
In a statement, commissioner Rob Manfred said, “This is a very sad day across Major League Baseball. Eric Cooper was a highly respected umpire, a hard worker on the field and a popular member of our staff. He also served as a key voice of the MLB Umpires Association on important issues in our game. Eric was a consistent presence in the Postseason throughout his career, including in this year’s Division Series between the Yankees and Twins. He was known for his professionalism and his enthusiasm, including for our international events.”
Manfred also said that Cooper’s memory will be honored during the World Series between the Nationals and Astros.
Cooper began umpiring in the majors in 1999. Highlights of his career include working the 2005 All-Star Game, the 2015-17 Wild Card games, the 2004 and ’15-17 Championship Series, the 2014 World Series, and the 2009 and ’13 World Baseball Classic. He was part of Joe West’s umpire crew that also included Andy Fletcher and Will Little.