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Bruce Froemming Makes Umpiring History

To a regular baseball fan, an umpire is a guy who stands behind one of the bases making calls that you sometimes don’t agree with. Umpires are also there to produce entertaining shouting matches with managers, and to produce loud boos or cheers when they give players or managers “the hook” (eject them). Still, any fan has to admit that baseball couldn’t happen without them.

One umpire is deserving of some extra special attention this week. Bruce Froemming umpired the 5,000th game of his career on Wednesday, making him just the second umpire to accomplish that feat — Bill Klem was the other (5,374 games). Froemming has been a Major League umpire since 1971, making him by far the most experience ump in the league, with 35 years of service. To give an idea of how long that is, Hank Aaron was still hammerin’ when Froemming’s umpiring career began.

He has worked two All Star games and five World Series, most recently in 1995, and he has always been one of the most trusted umpires, by players and managers, to make the correct calls. To an ordinary fan, Bruce Froemming is a guy to say “C’mon blue” to when he makes a bad call, but to baseball, Froemming has meant much more than that. He was honored with a video presentation before Wednesday’s Red Sox vs Tigers game (his 5,000th), and was given a standing ovation at Fenway Park.

Froemming said jokingly during the award ceremony at Fenway “maybe I’ll get to 6,000; maybe that’ll be a good number”, but then corrected himself, “I think [another] year or two and I’ll wrap it up”.

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