Joe West breaks record for games as an umpire

·2 min read
MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago White Sox

The umpire known as "Cowboy Joe" is not ready to ride off into the sunset just yet, even after breaking the record for most games as an ump. 

Joe West participated in his 5,376th regular-season game as an umpire Tuesday night when he was behind the plate for the Chicago White Sox's game against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. 

The White Sox completed an 8-3 win when West called out Tommy Edman on strike three with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. 

In addition to his regular-season work, West has also been an umpire in six World Series and 10 league championship series. He worked the All-Star Game in 1987, 2005 and 2017. 

An Ashville, N.C., native and president of the Major League Baseball Umpires Association, West also has released two country music albums. 

The 69-year-old, who umpired his first major league game in 1976 at the age of 23, broke a tie atop the games list with Hall of Famer Bill Klem, who retired in 1941. 

West has both his fans and detractors, with many saluting his strict adherence to the rules while others deriding his gruff, sometimes confrontational style. 

During a 1994 game, West felt the Los Angeles Dodgers' Raul Mondesi was talking too long to arrive from the on-deck circle, so he allowed Florida Marlins pitcher David Weathers to start the at-bat. Weathers threw a first-pitch strike despite the batter's box being empty. 

During a June 5, 2016, game at Los Angeles, Dodgers players used West songs as their walk-up music during their first at-bats of the game while West worked behind the plate. In a close-up shot on the Dodger Stadium video board, West could be seen laughing inside his mask. The Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves 12-6 that day. 

West, who has been an umpire during the reign of six MLB commissioners starting with Bowie Kuhn, is planning to retire at the end of the season, according to reports. 

—Field Level Media 

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