Umpires Harry Wendelstedt Sr. and Larry Vanover stand on the field before a MLB game between the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Harry Wendelstedt, one of the most respected umpires of his time, has passed away.
Harry Wendelstedt was a major league umpire for 33 seasons, from 1966 through 1998. Many times, we as fans criticize umpires and forget that they're people with families and friends just like the rest of us. Today, we send condolences to Harry's family and friends:
Condolences to the family of longtime NL Umpire Harry Wendelstedt, who passed away today at age 73. He worked 7 NLCS & 5 World Series.— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) March 9, 2012
In addition to all the postseason games, Wendelstedt leaves two legacies to baseball and umpiring. First is the Wendelstedt Umpire School, originally founded by Al Somers, who trained Wendelstedt to teach umpires, and the school was renamed for Wendelstedt in 1977. It's the oldest umpiring school in the world and regularly sends its graduates into the professional ranks.
His other legacy is his son, Harry Hunter Wendelstedt III, known professionally as Hunter Wendelstedt; the younger Wendelstedt has been a major league umpire since 1998. The two men both served as NL umpires in 1998, before the umpiring staffs of the two leagues were merged into one.