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Joe West

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Joseph Henry West
(Cowboy Joe, Country Joe)

[edit] Biographical Information

Joe West is a noted umpire who began his career in the National League. After a star career as a college quarterback, West made his major league umpiring debut on September 13, 1976 after just three minor league seasons. In 1981, he became the youngest umpire to work a League Championship Series. It was the first of many postseason appearances for West. He would patent a type of chest protector that was later adopted by most MLB umpires. Additionally he writes country music and once sang at the Grand Ole Opry.

In the 1990s, West created somewhat of a firestorm after he ejected Von Hayes from a game after Hayes criticized the home plate umpire to the first base coach.

West lost his job in 1999 in the ill-advised resignation of many umpires. He returned to the field in 2002, with credit for the missed seasons, after a court ruling.

West's career came full circle when he worked the plate for the first game of the 2005 World Series. The twenty-eight year veteran was also named crew chief for the Series. He had previously worked 1992 and 1997 Fall Classics, and returned again in 2009 and 2012.

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