Joe Torre Comments on MLB Umpire Wally Bell's Passing
Reaction from around Major League Baseball continues to pour in following the death of umpire Wally Bell. Bell passed away on Monday after working the National League Division Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals.
The Associated Press reports, via the New York Daily News, that Bell died of an apparent heart attack in Ohio. It passed along comments from executive vice president for baseball operations Joe Torre, commissioner Bud Selig and fellow umpire Joe West.
Torre, who managed 29 years before taking on a position with the league, talked about how many different people Bell touched during his time in the game.
"I am deeply saddened and shocked at the loss of umpire Wally Bell," said Joe Torre, MLB executive vice president for baseball operations.
"Umpiring was his life, and he touched so many people within the game of baseball. Aside from being an accomplished, All-Star-caliber umpire, Wally was a loving dad to his two teenage children. I extend my deepest condolences to them, his girlfriend Renee, the rest of his family and his admirers across Major League Baseball."
Speaking for each of the league's 30 teams, Selig said the Ohio native was a terrific umpire. At 48, he had already spent two decades at the major league level.
"All of us at Major League Baseball are in mourning tonight regarding the sudden passing of Wally Bell," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement.
"I always enjoyed seeing Wally, who was a terrific umpire and such an impressive young man. On behalf of our 30 clubs, I extend my deepest condolences to Wally’s family, fellow umpires and his many friends throughout the game."
Finally, West also admired Bell for not only his work as a umpire, but also for his friendship.
"Wally was a great umpire, a great partner and a great friend. The umpiring community is deeply saddened by this tragic loss. He will be sorely missed by many," said major league ump Joe West, President of the World Umpires Association.
Bell had open heart surgery in 1999, but eventually returned to the field, an accomplishment he held in high regard.
His other top moments while working in MLB included two All-Star Game appearances and working during the 2006 World Series. Bell was also picked to work the championship round of the World Baseball Classic earlier this year.
The fact he was selected for the 2013 postseason shows Bell had reached the peak of the profession and had gained the trust of Selig, Torre and Major League Baseball as a whole. It allowed him to become one of the league's most respected umpires.
If the honor of umpiring in the playoffs didn't illustrate that, the outpouring of support since he passed away certainly does. Key figures from around MLB clearly thought highly of Bell.
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