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Harry Wendelstedt, Umpire Who Worked 5 World Series, Dies at 73

Harry Wendelstedt
MLB umpire Harry Wendelstedt, right, and Florida Marlins manager Jim Leyland, center, argue during a game in St. Louis in 1998. Photographer: Peter Newcomb/Getty Images

Harry Wendelstedt, a Major League Baseball umpire who worked five World Series, died today. He was 73.

Wendelstedt died this morning in Ormond Beach, Florida, MLB said in an e-mailed statement. A cause of death wasn’t given. The Associated Press said he was diagnosed several years ago with a brain tumor, without giving the source of its information.

Wendelstedt was a major-league umpire from 1966 to 1998. In addition to the World Series assignments, he worked seven National League Championship Series and four All-Star Games, and was behind the plate for four no-hitters, including ones by Hall of Fame pitchers Gaylord Perry in 1968 and Bob Gibson in 1971, according to MLB.

He also ran the Wendelstedt Umpire School since 1977, was supervisor of National League umpires in 1999 and served four terms as president of the Major League Umpires Association.

Wendelstedt’s son Hunter is a current major-league umpire. The two worked together during the final year of Harry’s career, when Hunter was a call-up umpire.

In 1968, Wendelstedt was the plate umpire in a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants in the middle of pitcher Don Drysdale’s then-record 58 2/3 scoreless-innings streak.

With the bases loaded and no outs in the ninth inning, Drysdale hit Giants catcher Dick Dietz, which would have forced in a run. Wendelstedt ruled that Dietz didn’t attempt to get out of the way of the pitch, which was called a ball. Drysdale escaped the inning without surrendering a run.

The scoreless-innings record was broken by Orel Hershiser in 1988.

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