Former NL umpire Frank Pulli died recently at the age 78 from complications from Parkinson’s Decease. Pulli umpired from 1972 to 1999 and worked 4 World Series, 6 league championship series and 2 All-Star games. He was 1 of 22 umpires who lost their jobs in the resignations orchestrated by Richie Phillips, then the head of the umpires’ union.
Pulli’s death comes at a time when the MLB is looking to introduce more instant replay to the game. There is a great deal of controversy around most rule changes, especially those that include the use of video or other technology to assist umpires, but Frank Pulli can serve as a reminder that while we should carefully consider every rule change, the true goal of an umpire is to make the right call. Nearly 15 years ago, Pulli entered a cameraman’s booth to review a play, that was ruled a home run, on the man’s video monitor years before such reviews were allowed. He overturned his own call and ruled the play a double.