We Say Good-bye to the Great Umpire, Doug Harvey.

We Say Good-bye to the Great Umpire, Doug Harvey.

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 We Say Good-bye to the Great Umpire, Doug Harvey.

“I’ve heard it said that umpires are necessary evil. Well, we are necessary, but we are not evil. We are the integrity of the game.” –Umpire Doug Harvey.

It’s not often that we pay attention to the “Men in Blue,” but we can’t let the week go by without mentioning the passing at age 87 of one of the all-time great umpires, Doug Harvey, a National League arbiter for 31 seasons (1962-1992).

Harvey earned the nickname “God” due to the esteem in which he was held by players and managers alike. He was among the last umpires who never attended an umpiring school, and was the ninth umpire inducted into the Hall of Fame (2009).

Harvey umpired his first game on April 10, 1962, the first regular-season game in Dodger Stadium. He credited umpires Al BarlickJocko Conlan and Shag Crawford for helping him develop his umpiring skills. His last game was on October 4, 1992.

The accolades Harvey has received during his lifetime are numerous. Here’s a few, plus some highlights from his career:  

  • In 1974, a Players Associationpoll of players ranked Harvey as the top National League umpire, being the only official in the league rated as “excellent.”
  • In 1990, Sportmagazine named him the best umpire in the game.
  • In 1999, the Society for American Baseball Research(SABR) ranked Harvey as the second-greatest umpire in history, behind only Bill Klem.
  • He was the first National League umpire since Bill Klem to work for more than 30 years.
  • His 4,673 games at the time of his retirement ranked third in major league history behind Klem (5,374) and Tom Connolly (4,769). His total is currently fifth all-time.
  • He umpired five World Series and six All-Star games; and set a record (since broken) for officiating nine National League Championship series. He was a crew chief for 18 seasons.
  • Over his 31 seasons, Harvey ejected 58 people. The first person he tossed was Joe Torre as a player in 1962; his last ejection was Torre as a manager in 1992.
  • He was the second base umpire on the final game of the 1972 season when Roberto Clemente collected his 3,000 hit. He’s remembered for retrieving the ball for Clemente.
  • Harvey was the home plate umpire for the memorable Game One of the 1988 World Serieswhen Kirk Gibson hit a game-winning home run off Dennis Eckersley.
  • Harvey is often credited with changing umpiring protocols by insisting that it was better to delay the call and make sure it was correct rather than making quick calls, which was the norm when he broke in.

RIP Doug Harvey

Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: All from Google search

Information: Excerpts edited from the Doug Harvey Wikipedia page.

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I'm a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.


  1. Rich Giandana · January 16, 2018 Reply

    I’m not sure how many times I saw Doug Harvey umpiring in person, but I do remember one time in 1978 at Candlestick Park. The Reds were playing my Giants and were being managed by Sparky Anderson in his last year with them. There was a play at second base where Harvey was umpiring. Sparky came out of the dugout and jogged to 2nd base to argue the call.

    He and Harvey jawed at each other for a couple of minutes and then Sparky started walking back to the dugout. As he got close to the 3rd base line, all of a sudden Harvey started running toward him and caught up to Anderson in foul territory. Harvey tapped Sparky on the shoulder, and when Anderson turned around, Harvey emphatically threw him out of the game!

    Why Harvey waited until Anderson was almost to the visitor’s dugout was a mystery to all the fans there, but when he dramatically gave Sparky the thumb, the crowd erupted with a loud roar and applauded Harvey for quite a while. What a sight!

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