Longtime MLB umpire Eric Cooper dies at 52

Alex Butler
Eric Cooper (R) had a 21-year career as a Major League Baseball umpire. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI
Eric Cooper (R) had a 21-year career as a Major League Baseball umpire. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball umpire Eric Cooper has died, two weeks after working during the American League Championship Series. He was 52.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced Cooper's death Sunday.


"This is a very sad day across Major League Baseball," Manfred said. "Eric Cooper was a highly respected umpire, a hard worker on the field and a popular member of our staff. He also served as a key voice of the MLB Umpires Association on important issues in our game.

"Eric was a consistent presence in the postseason throughout his career, including in this year's Division Series between the Yankees and the Twins. He was known for his professionalism and his enthusiasm, including for our international events.

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"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Eric's family, friends and all of his fellow Major League Umpires. We will honor Eric's memory during the World Series. Eric will be missed by the entire Baseball family."

Cooper joined the MLB umpire staff in 1999 after starting his career in 1990 in Minor League Baseball. He umpired three no-hitters during his career, tied for the most among active umpires. He also umpired the final game of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., three Wild Card games, 10 Division Series, four League Championship Series and the 2014 World Series. Cooper also worked the 2005 All-Star Game, the World Baseball Classic and the 2018 Japan All-Star Series.


"Eric Cooper's friendly and familiar presence in the baseball community will be missed by all of us," players' union chief Tony Clark said in a statement. "He was a professional and gentleman whose passion for our game, the players and his fellow umpires was evident in the way he went about his work and life.''

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Cooper's last game was the Yankees' 5-1 win against the Twins Oct. 7 in Minneapolis. He umpired second base while working with Gary Cederstrom, Lance Barksdale, Adrian Johnson, Manny Gonzalez and Todd Tichenor.

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