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John McSherry
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Sports Executive
    (September 11, 1944-April 1, 1996)
    National League umpire from 1971 to 1996
    Career highlights include calling two no hitters (1972 & 1976), working two World Series games (1977 & 1987) and eight National League Championship Series (NLCS)
    Home plate ump in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series when Reggie Jackson hit three home runs on three bat swings
    Collapsed behind home plate after seven pitches thrown on 1996 opening day nationally televised game between the Montreal Expos and the Cincinnati Reds
    Pronounced dead one hour later from a heart attack at age 51
    He became an umpire because he couldn't make it as a player.
    When he started umpiring in 1971, he was 225 pounds - when he died he was close to 380 pounds.
    In 1988, he became a National League crew chief after another ump, Lee Weyer, died of a midseason heart attack.
    The day of his fatal attack, he postponed a medical check-up so he could call opening day balls and strikes.
    Marge Schott famously wanted the game to continue, but players and umps voted to postpone the game (a move some say McSherry himself would have frowned on).
    The first game he umpired, he asked his Met fan mother what she thought - she stated, 'I never thought we'd get that run.' When he pressed about his performance she said, 'You did fine too, son.'
    He often complimented players on good fielding plays.
    He was even-tempered and had one of the lowest ejection ratios in the league.
    On a 1-1 count to Rondell White he called time, took a few steps, signaled for help and fell down in a crumpled heap before 50,000 fans and millions of TV viewers.
    Friend and fellow 'plump ump' Eric Gregg scheduled to take weight loss classes together, and Gregg went ahead with renewed determination after his death.
    Barry Larkin, who watched helplessly as he died, later stated, 'It's often thought that baseball players and umpires have an antagonistic relationship. If any one person could prove that theory wrong, it was John McSherry.'

Credit: Scar Tactics


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