Jeff Nelson (umpire)
Jeffrey Brian Nelson
- Height 6' 2", Weight 196 lb.
- School Bethel University
Jeff Nelson has been a Major League umpire since 1997, when he became a member of the National League umpiring staff. He became a regular crew member two years later. He attended the Joe Brinkman Umpiring School, graduating in 1989. He later served as an umpiring instructor at the school and at academies organized by Major League Baseball. He missed part of the 2007 season.
Nelson has umpired in both the 2005 and 2009 World Series. He was in right field for Game 3 of the 2009 Series, when instant replay was used for the first time in the Fall Classic to determine whether a ball was a home run: Alex Rodriguez had hit a fly ball into the right field corner that appeared to hit the top of the fence and bounce back on the field. Nelson originally ruled a double, but when the video was reviewed, it showed that the ball had hit a camera in the first row of the stands, giving Rodriguez a home run. Nelson has umpired a number of other postseason series, as well as the 2006 All-Star Game.
Nelson made a very embarrassing call in a game between the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers on May 24, 2013. In the 2nd inning, the Mariners' Jesus Sucre hit into an apparent double play - except that Rangers pitcher Justin Grimm crossed in front of 1B Mitch Moreland and caught the relay. Nelson called Sucre out, event though Grimm's foot was nowhere near the bag, as he was convinced that Moreland had made the catch. He had to recognize his mistake and apologize for it when he saw the replay after the game, but he was not the only one fooled by Grimm's great acting job. On-deck hitter Brendan Ryan admitted he had seen nothing as well, and when Seattle manager Eric Wedge came out to argue, it was that Moreland's foot was off the bag, not that an entirely different player had caught the relay.
Nelson was promoted to crew chief before the 2014 season.
He is the Treasurer (Vice-President) of the World Umpires Association, the Umpires' union. He is not to be confused with relief pitcher Jeff Nelson, who was active when he began umpiring in the majors.