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Umpire Wally Bell dies at age 48

Oct 14, 2013, 8:54 PM EDT

Wally Bell

Sad news coming out of Ohio on Monday night: Wally Bell, who just finished working the Cardinals-Pirates NLDS series last week, has passed away of an apparent heart attack, according to the Youngtown Vindicator.

“One on my dearest friends,” fellow umpire John Hirschbeck told Youngstown’s WFMJ. “We worked together for 11 years. He was like to a son to me, my wife Denise, very dear friend. It’s devastating. Wally was one of the first to call me and congratulate me on working the World Series.”

Bell had spent 21 years as a major league ump, handling one World Series, four LCSs and seven LDSs. According to his bio, his proudest moment as a major league ump was returning to the field following open heart surgery in 1999.

“All of us at Major League Baseball are in mourning tonight regarding the sudden passing of Wally Bell,” said commissioner Bud Selig in a statement. “I always enjoyed seeing Wally, who was a terrific umpire and such an impressive young man. On behalf of our 30 clubs, I extend my deepest condolences to Wally’s family, fellow umpires and his many friends throughout the game.”

Bell was behind the plate for Game 2 of last week’s NLDS game in St. Louis, a 6-1 win for the Pirates. He was never involved in any major controversies, which alone suggests he did his job pretty well.

According to Wikipedia, he leaves behind two children.

  1. aceinthehole12 - Oct 14, 2013 at 8:59 PM


    • theallegedone - Oct 15, 2013 at 2:14 AM

      Amazing how people would vote a thumbs down to this. I wish I could smack all of you. Some people just have no respect.

      • aceinthehole12 - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:45 AM

        Yup, just the world we live in I guess.

  2. raysfan1 - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Wow. Condolences to all his friends and loved ones.

  3. pgilbert2013 - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Wally, you were one of the better Umpires.

    RIP my friend.

  4. samdakota - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    Reblogged this on Multi-Purpose Stadium and commented:
    As the HardballTalk article states, Wally Bell was never involved in any notable controversy; he did his job, and he did it well. He was one of the ever shrinking number of umpires who knew the people came to see the players play, not the umpires officiate. Prayers for him and his family during this difficult time.
    Rest in peace, Wally.

  5. cabrera24 - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    Yes indeed one of the better umpires in the league . Hands down RIP

  6. dkphilly1122 - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    R.I.P. Wally, thank you for your service in one of the best sports for us fans!! My condolences to your family and friends!! Sucks that you were too young to leave and just umpired a game last week!!

  7. Scott Mullin - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    RIP Wally

  8. stoutfiles - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    A great ump is one you never hear about. This guy must have been fantastic at his job.

  9. aceshigh11 - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    Way too young for a man with children. How terribly sad.

    R.I.P., sir.

  10. steelers88 - Oct 14, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    Man life goes way to fast this is why you need to take every minute like it’s your last, cherish every minute with your friends and family, make right with the people you have harmed, and never leave anything left unsaid. Wow life goes way to fast one minute your here and the next your gone. RIP. I will be praying for his family.

  11. yahmule - Oct 14, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    Very sad news.

  12. pisano - Oct 14, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    God rest his soul, 48 is way to young to leave this earth. His family must be in shock,I feel for them is this horrible passing.

  13. tigersfandan - Oct 14, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    Even though I knew he’d had heart troubles, I’m still shocked. This is very sad for his family. He was a very good umpire too (of course, it would be sad even if he’d been a bad or a mediocre umpire).

  14. hemicharger - Oct 14, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    Very sad news.

    What’s with all the thumbs down on the comments? I’m always amazed at the callousness of some folks.

  15. normcash - Oct 14, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    Each of these appropriate and sincere comments has attracted at least one “thumbs down”.
    What on earth is the matter with people?

  16. thebadguyswon - Oct 14, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    I’m sure its just to get a rise out of people. Ignore it.

  17. cur68 - Oct 14, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    Sad news. Bell was a good ump. Good at his job and never a face or name in the spotlight. Gonna miss him.

  18. jdjohhnson1971 - Oct 14, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    My wife and I knew Wally from when he used to be a high school basketball referee in Mahoning County during the baseball offseason. He always remembered us when we moved to the St. Louis area and we would see him after the games he worked out here. He was always looking to make someone laugh and was more interested in others than himself and his accomplishments. I am still in shock at this news and my condolences go out to his children. He and his smile will be missed.

  19. banger60 - Oct 15, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    Enjoy everyday like its your last, it might just be…..R.I.P.

  20. disgracedfury - Oct 15, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    R.I.P. Wally Bell

  21. nbjays - Oct 15, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    It is depressing to see guys younger than me passing away. Wally Bell was one of the better umpires out there, and did his job well with no drama or controversy. RIP Wally.

  22. dexterismyhero - Oct 15, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    Maybe there should not be a thumbs up/down option for stories like this. Then we could see if the thumbs downers would post something stupid.

    RIP Wally

  23. shawndc04 - Oct 15, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Really sorry to hear this news. The fact that we never heard much about him meant that he was a good, competent umpire.

  24. stlouis1baseball - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Terrible news obviously. I am said for his Wife, kids, extended family and friends.
    And so young. By all accounts he was a top notch Umpire and an even better person.
    Take nothing for granted people. You just never know. R.I.P Wally Bell.

  25. jgarettbenson - Oct 15, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Joe West is still alive and well, however.

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