Umpires Hirschbeck, Davidson, Joyce, Welke Retire

Four longtime umpires—Bob Davidson, John Hirschbeck, Jim Joyce and Tim Welke—have retired, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday.

In their places, Adam Hamari, Pat Hoberg, Gabe Morales and Carlos Torres have been named to the full-time major league umpiring staff.

The four retirees had a combined 124 years of experience between them.

Davidson, 64, was an umpire for 28 years, having started as a National League umpire in 1993. He is probably best known for being one of the umpires who was part of the ill-fated mass resignation during labor negotiations in 1999, later saying, “What we did in 1999 was asinine.” Davidson was out of the game until 2003 when he returned in the minors, and he finally got back to the majors in 2007 when Joe Brinkman retired.

Hirschbeck—whose brother Mark was a big league ump from 1988-2003—worked in the majors for 33 years. He is best known for the heated argument with the Orioles’ Roberto Alomar in 1996 during which Alomar spat in his face after Hirschbeck allegedly uttered a slur. The two publicly reconciled in 1997.

Joyce, 61, began umpiring in 1987. He worked three World Series (1999, 2001, 2013), but is probably best known for his blown call on Armando Galarraga’s near-perfect game in June 2010. Of his call on a ground ball to second base in which he incorrectly ruled Jason Donald safe, Joyce later tearfully admitted, “I just cost the kid a perfect game.”

Welke—whose brother Bill has been an umpire for 17 years—spent 33 years in the majors. He missed the 2016 because of a knee replacement and called four World Series.

With the retirements of Hirschbeck, Joyce and Welke, crew chief vacancies have been filled by longtime big league umps Paul Emmel (17 1/2 major league seasons), Mike Everitt (18 years) and Sam Holbrook (16 1/2 years).

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