Here is Joe West, on the greatest and emotional night of his career, breaking the all-time record with his 5,376th game as an umpire Tuesday, and the moment he steps onto the field before the St. Louis Cardinals-Chicago White Sox game, he’s lustily booed.
“Well, what did you expect?’’ says James Bond, his childhood friend from Greenville, North Carolina. “It’s emotional for all of us, but not for the fans or players.’’
The moment a video tribute ended at Guaranteed Rate Field, one teenager stood in the aisle and yelled: “Joe West! He’s the worst umpire I’ve ever seen.’’
Yep, just another testament to West’s longevity, and either his popularity or notoriety, depending on which way you choose to view it?
“Can anyone else even name five umpires?’’ said Charlie Haje, West’s longtime friend who traveled from Destin, Florida. “How about three? Anyone besides Joe?
“He’s got to be the most famous umpire in history.”