Fieldin Culbreth

From BR Bullpen

Fieldin Henry Culbreth, III

Biographical Information[edit]

Fieldin Culbreth became a major league umpire since 1993, when he worked his first game in the American League, although he did not become a full-time major league umpire until 1997. By the end of the 2015 season, he had worked 6 Division Series, 6 League Championship Series, the 2006 All-Star Game and the 2008 and 2012 World Series. He was appointed a crew chief in 2013.

He found himself at the center of a controversy on May 9, 2013, in a game between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. With Houston leading 5-3 in the top of the 7th, Astros manager Bo Porter brought in left-handed reliever Wesley Wright to replace righty Paul Clemens. Angels skipper Mike Scioscia countered by bringing in a right-handed hitting pinch-hitter, Luis Jimenez. Before Wright had thrown a pitch, Porter turned around and replaced him with a righthander, Hector Ambriz. Culbreth allowed the substitution, although it was in apparent contradiction with rule 3.05 (b) that states: "the substitute pitcher shall pitch to the batter then at bat, or any substitute batter, until such batter is put out or reaches first base, or until the offensive team is put out, unless the substitute pitcher sustains injury". Scioscia came out to argue, and when Culbreth refused to disallow the change of pitchers, played the remainder of the game under protest. That protest became moot when the Angels rallied to win the game, 6-5, on three late runs, but Culbreth was not out of hot water. He refused to give an explanation for his apparent errant decision, stating simply that protests are handled by the Commissioner's office. The Commissioner's office was not impressed by his egregious misinterpretation of the rule, however, issuing him with a two-day suspension and a fine as a reprimand. The other three members of his crew - Brian O'Nora, Bill Welke and Adrian Johnson - were issued fines as well for not correcting the mistaken ruling.

He retired following the 2021 season, having worked a total of 3,140 games over 28 seasons. He had been one of a number of veteran umpires to sit out the 2020 season over health and safety concerns related to the Coronavirus pandemic and worked his final postseason games in the 2019 NLCS.

Culbreth played baseball in college at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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