Christos George Pelekoudas
- Height 5' 10", Weight 185 lb.
Chris Pelekoudas got his start umpiring in the Eastern Shore League in 1948. He then worked in the Interstate League (1949), Western League (1950-1952), and Pacific Coast League (1953-1959). He moved up to the National League in 1960, where he stayed until 1975. He umpired the 1966 and 1972 World Series and three All-Star Games (1961, 1967, 1975).
Pelekoudas was the home plate umpire when Willie Mays broke Jimmie Foxx's record for homers by a right-handed batter to move into second place on the all-time home run list. He shook Mays' hand at home; Mays biographer James Hirsch writes that Pelekoudas "quickly realized his error and turned sheepishly to the Cardinal dugout as if seeking dispensation. He later said, 'We're supposed to be impartial, and I suppose an umpire shouldn't do a thing like that. But when a man reaches baseball immortality - well, I'm not sorry I did it.'"
In 1968, Pelekoudas decided to try to enforce the rule against spitballs. With Phil Regan on the mound August 18th, Pelekoudas ruled three pitches illegal. Once he ruled a foul ball to be a ball, and twice he let batters hit again after making outs. Pelekoudas made his rulings based on the flight of the ball, not on evidence of illegal substance. NL president Warren Giles apparently didn't back his umpire, telling umpires not to penalize pitchers unless they had concrete evidence of foreign substance.
Chris' brother Perry Pelekoudas was a minor league umpire and his son Lee Pelekoudas currently works in the Seattle Mariners front office. Chris' grandson Chris Pelekoudas is currently a Mariners scout, and another grandson, Bryan, works in the Arizona Diamondbacks front office.