Monday, June 05, 2006

Twist of fate

In no way do I intend to belittle the passing of former umpire Eric Gregg, but it's hard to ignore the coincidence that, on the night of his death, Livan Hernandez is pitching against the Braves. Gregg, you'll remember, framed a strike zone almost as large as his belly while working behind the plate during Livan's 15 K performance against the home team in Game 5 of the 1997 NLCS.

Hernandez was a Marlin then, and Florida went on to win the series in six games. Braves fans haven't forgotten.

It was downhill from there for Gregg, who, along with 21 other umpires, resigned in 1999 as part of a failed labor strategy orchestrated by then-union director Richie Phillips. While some who resigned were later rehired by MLB, Gregg ended up judging chicken wing eating contests in Philadelphia.

He may have been a terrible ump, but Gregg was, by most accounts, a good guy. He leaves a wife and four children behind.



At 3:42 AM, Anonymous Stu said...

Of course, as Braves fans who pulled for Glavine and Maddux for so many years, we'd be hard pressed to complain too much about big strike zones.

At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was apparently a nice guy but a terrible umpire, kept in place by affirmative action. He cost us that Marlins series every bit as much as Jim Fucking Leyritz cost us the World Series in 1996. Although subsequent years have shown the Braves to take an inordinate amount of strikes come playoff time.

The Shadow

At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Jack Straw said...

Didn't John McSherry take himself out of one of those games that was then called by Gregg from behind the plate? Or am I thinking of a World Series game between Cleveland and Florida? Seems to me McSherry took himself out of a couple big games in early innings.


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