Harry Wendelstedt

From BR Bullpen

Harry Hunter Wendelstedt Jr.

Biographical Information[edit]

Harry Wendelstedt was an umpire in the Georgia-Florida League (1962), Northwest League (1963), Texas League (1964), and International League (1965). He attended umpiring school in 1962, after serving a term in the Marines following two years of college.

He was then a National League umpire from 1966 to 1998. He umpired in the World Series in 1973, 1980, 1986, 1991 and 1995, serving as crew chief in 1980 and 1995. He also officiated in 7 National League Championship Series (1970, 1972, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1988 and 1990) and 4 All-Star Games (1968, 1976, 1983, and 1992), calling balls and strikes in 1976. He umpired in the National League Division Series in 1995, 1996 and 1997. He was behind the plate for 5 no-hitters.

He is remembered for a highly controversial decision during the 1968 season. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale was on his way to setting a record with 58 2/3 scoreless innings when he hit San Francisco Giants batter Dick Dietz with a pitch with the bases loaded, apparently scoring a run and ending the streak. However, he ruled that Dietz had made no effort to get out of the way of the pitch and disallowed the hit by pitch and the run. Drysdale ended up pitching a shutout.

He took over the Al Somers umpire school in Ormond Beach, FL and had it renamed in his own name in 1977. The "Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School" remains the top such school in the world. During his long tenure as head of the school, "he probably trained more umpires than anyone in history", according to his good friend umpire Joe West.

He is the father of big league umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. In 1998, the two became the first father-son combination to umpire a game together. Hunter later took over as head instructor at his father's school.

He died in 2012, ten years after having first suffered from a brain tumor.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Lee Gutkind: The Best Seat in Baseball, But You Have to Stand! The Game as Umpires See It, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, IL, 1999 (originally published in 1975). ISBN 978-0809321957

Related Sites[edit]