MLB Umpire Eric Cooper Dies at 52

Eric Cooper
HOUSTON, TEXAS - JUNE 14: Umpire Eric Cooper looks in from first base at Minute Maid Park on June 14, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Eric Cooper, a veteran MLB umpire with 20 years of experience, has died at age 52. Cooper worked the AL Division Series between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins two weeks ago.

Cooper died after having a blood clot. He had knee surgery earlier in the week and was recuperating at his father’s home in Iowa.

MLB Umpire Eric Cooper Dies at 52

Commissioners Statement

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred released a statement on Sunday regarding Cooper’s death.

“This is a very sad day across Major League Baseball. Eric Cooper was a highly respected umpire, a hard worker on the field and a popular member of our staff. He also served as a key voice of the MLB Umpires Association on important issues in our game. Eric was a consistent presence in the Postseason throughout his career, including in this year’s Division Series between the Yankees and the Twins. He was known for his professionalism and his enthusiasm, including for our international events.”

“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Eric’s family, friends and all of his fellow Major League Umpires. We will honor Eric’s memory during the World Series. Eric will be missed by the entire Baseball family.”

A Decorated Career

Cooper was one of the most highly respected and decorated MLB umpires. The Iowa native made his debut in the majors in 1996 as a minor league fill-in and joined the big league staff in 1999. He worked the 2005 All-Star Game, the 2014 World Series, and the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classic. He also worked three Wild Card games, 10 division series, and four league championship series.

Cooper worked behind the plate in many historic baseball moments. He was the home plate umpire for Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter in 2001 and Mark Buehrle’s no-hitter in 2007. He was also behind the plate for Buehrle’s perfect game in 2009. As a result, his assignments for officiating three no-hitters are the most among active MLB staff. Also, Cooper worked the plate in the final game in the career of Cal Ripken Jr.

All of us at Last Word On Baseball send our condolences to Cooper’s family and friends and the entire umpire community. May he rest in peace.

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1 COMMENT

  1. That’s why they give you compression socks and implore you to do ankle pumps regularly and go over these symptoms with you post surgery. My wife had knee surgery and had one and had it quickly identified before it got out of hand – had to giver herself injections for a month, but it beats dying.

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