- Rich Garcia
Richard Raul Garcia (born May 22, 1942 in
Key West, Florida) is a former umpire in Major League Baseballwho worked in the American Leaguefrom 1975 to 1999. Garcia worked two All-Star Games (1980, 1992), three American League Division Series(1995, 1997, 1998), five American League Championship Series(1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1996) and four World Series(1981, 1984, 1989, 1998). He was crew chief for the 1989 and 1998 World Series, as well as the 1990 ALCS. He was not re-hired after resigning as part of a mass umpire resignation in 1999, one of the few Junior Circuit umpires who supported then-umpires union president Richie Phillips.
Garcia later re-joined Major League Baseball as an umpire supervisor in 2002. In his current position, Garcia serves as a liaison between Major League Baseball and the major league umpires.
Garcia is one of seven major leagues umpires who have officiated in two
perfect games. On May 15,, 1981, he was behind the plate for Len Barker's perfect game for the Cleveland Indiansagainst the Toronto Blue Jays, and on May 17,, 1998 he was umpiring at second base for David Wells' perfect game for the New York Yankeesagainst the Minnesota Twins. Garcia is perhaps best known for one of the most controversial calls in baseball history, in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS between the Baltimore Oriolesand the Yankees, when he was umpiring in right field. In the 8th inning, the Yankees tied the game 4-4 when Derek Jeterhit a fly ball to right field that 12-year-old fan Jeffrey Maierpulled into the stands after reaching over the right field wall. Garcia ruled it a home run, but after seeing a replay admitted that he had made a mistake after the game; the Yankees won the game in 11 innings and would go on to win the series.
Fans of the
San Diego Padresblame Garcia for their loss in Game 1 of the 1998 World Series. Padres pitcher Mark Langstonappeared to have struck out Tino Martinezwith the bases loaded and two outs in the 7th inning with the game tied at 5-5. Garcia, however, called the pitch a ball, and Martinez drilled Langston's next pitch over the fence for a grand slam.
Garcia was hired into the minor leagues after attending the Umpire Development Course in 1970. Worked in the Florida State (single-A, 1970-71), Southern (double-A, 1972) and International (triple-A, 1973-74) leagues before joining the AL staff in 1975. Also worked winter baseball in the Dominican League (1972 and 1973) and in the Florida Instructional League (1970, 71, 73, 74). He was promoted to AL crew chief in 1985.
Garcia, who played baseball for three years as a U.S. Marine, served in the Marine Corps (1960-64) as a combat engineer with postings to
Okinawaand North Carolina. He has instructed at various umpire schools for several years and also conducted umpiring clinics during the offseason when he was an active major league umpire.
Garcia played a first base umpire in the 1999 movie "For Love of the Game", starring
Kevin Costnerand Kelly Preston.
Garcia currently resides in Clearwater. He and his wife Sheryl have four children and ten grandchildren.
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