Major League Baseball reportedly made Kerwin Danley the first African American umpire crew chief in league history Wednesday night, according to Ben Walker of the Associated Press.
The 58-year-old Danley made his major league umpiring debut in 1992 as a fill-in and was hired on a full-time basis in 1998.
Danley is a highly accomplished umpire with two World Series and two All-Star Game assignments on his resume. He also umpired the American League Championship Series between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees last season.
Danley's best attribute as an umpire may be his calm demeanor. As Walker noted, Danley is willing to give managers and players some rope, as he has only issued four ejections in the past five seasons.
Before becoming an umpire, Danley was a standout baseball player at San Diego State. The Los Angeles native hit .399 and was named a first-team All-America outfielder in 1983. At SDSU, he was teammates with future San Diego Padres star and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.
Danley was selected by his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers in the 12th round of the 1979 MLB draft out of high school, but he attended college rather than signing. Despite his success at SDSU, Danley went undrafted out of college, so he transitioned to umpiring.
Emmett Ashford broke the color barrier for umpires when he called his first major league game in 1966, and there have been "about 10 full-time African American umpires in the majors since," per Walker.