John McSherry

From BR Bullpen

John Patrick McSherry

  • Height 6' 3", Weight 351 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

John McSherry was an umpire in the Carolina League (1967-1968) and International League (1969-May, 1971). He was then a National League umpire from June, 1971 until his passing, working over 3,000 games. He was very well regarded, as witnessed by the fact he worked the National League Championship Series 8 times, the World Series twice (in 1977 and 1987) and the All-Star Game three times.

He died of a heart attack on the field at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, OH on Opening Day in 1996. The game between the Cincinnati Reds and Montreal Expos was just getting under way in the top of the 1st inning when he felt ill, moved away from his position, kneeled briefly and collapsed. He was immediately evacuated to a hospital but nothing could be done to revive him and the game was postponed. Because the game did not last long enough to be official, and it was the first of the season, he is not credited with working any games that season. Unfortunately, after the game was cancelled, Reds owner Marge Schott made one the inappropriate comments she was known for, in effect showing no sympathy for McSherry, his family and colleagues and blaming him for wiping out a big day at the gate (the Reds always hosted the league's opening game in those days, one day ahead of any other game in the league, and it was an occasion when the ballpark was always packed).

At a time when the major leagues favored umpires who were big men, thinking that size would commend respect, McSherry was the biggest of the lot, packing over 350 pounds over his 6'3" frame. His weight clearly contributed to his fatal heart attack, and the Commissioner's office instructed other umpires who were at risk to lose weight for their own good, giving them paid leave to do so. Eric Gregg was among those who took time off.

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