MLB Hall of Fame Umpire Doug Harvey Dies at Age 87

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2018

COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 25:  2010 inductee Doug Harvey sits behind his plaque as his pre-recorded speech is heard at Clark Sports Center during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 25, 20010 in Cooperstown, New York. Harvey served as a National League umpire for 31 seasons working 4,673 regular season games as well as working five World Series.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Former umpire Doug Harvey, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010, died of natural causes Saturday at the age of 87, according to Ben Weinrib of MLB.com.

Commissioner Rob Manfred provided a statement acknowledging his impact on the game:

"Hall of Famer Doug Harvey was one of the most accomplished umpires of all-time. Known for his strong presence and communication skills, he umpired some of the most memorable moments ever, including from behind the plate for Kirk Gibson's walk-off home run to open the 1988 World Series. A generation of umpires learned as a result of Doug's example, his eagerness to teach the game and his excellent timing behind the plate.

"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to Doug's family, his friends and the umpiring community."

Harvey currently ranks fifth in MLB history with 4,673 games worked.

His performance as an umpire often led him to earn high-profile games, including five World Series, nine National League Championship Series and six All-Star Games, per Weinrib. He was the crew chief for his last two World Series appearances in 1984 and 1988, working behind the plate for Kirk Gibson's heroics in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

Perhaps most impressively, he earned the respect of players in his era, a rare feat for an official in any sport.

"His knowledge of the rules and his no-nonsense control of the game led players to refer to him as 'God,'" it reads on his Cooperstown plaque, via the Hall of Fame official site.

He spent a total of 31 seasons in the majors and became the ninth umpire elected to the Hall of Fame when voted in by the veteran's committee in 2010.

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