NEW YORK (AP) — Rick Reed, whose career as a big league umpire spanned three decades and included two All-Star games and a World Series, died Tuesday night. He was 70.
Born in Detroit, Reed first worked a handful of American League games in 1979 before eventually becoming a full-time ump in the big leagues four years later. He worked the classic seven-game World Series between Minnesota and Atlanta in 1991 and also received All-Star assignments in 1986 and 1998.
Reed appeared as the plate umpire in the 1999 movie “For Love of the Game” that starred Kevin Costner.
“I worked my first game in the big leagues with him and he took me to lunch the next day. We didn’t even talk about umpiring, he talked about being a husband and father while doing this job,” veteran crew chief Ted Barrett, whose son also is a professional umpire, texted to The Associated Press.
“I also worked many years with Rick as my crew chief. He was a great umpire and he was a leader of men,” Barrett said. “Rick groomed many of us to be crew chiefs. He took an interest in our families and invited us into his family. His wife, Cindy, became a trusted confidante to our wives. Rick was more than just a crew chief, he was a mentor and friend.”
Reed retired from the major leagues after the 2009 season. He’d had strokes in 2008 and 2009, according to the Oakland Press, but he was able to return to the field and umpire the final big league games of his career. He later worked for the commissioner’s office as an umpire observer.
“I was proud to be an umpire in the major leagues,” Reed told the newspaper. “I took pride in being considered one of the 68 best in the world at what I do and I gave it everything I had.”
Reed was the plate umpire in 1992 when George Brett got his 3,000th hit as Kansas City shut out the Angels. The winning pitcher that day was longtime big league right-hander Rick Reed — the same name as the ump.
While he worked all over the country, Reed the umpire never strayed far from his hometown roots.
“Rick was so proud of Detroit, the son of a Detroit police officer. I loved his stories of growing up in the Motor City,” Barrett said. “And of course, he loved singing along to Motown music!”
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