Umpire Eric Cooper died on Saturday as a result of a blood clot while he was recovering from knee surgery at his father’s home in Iowa. He was 52.
Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Cooper’s death on Sunday. He said, “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,” added Manfred. “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,” the commissioner continued. “He was known for his professionalism and his enthusiasm, including for our international events.”
Manfred added, “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.”
Cooper, who umpired the American League Division Series (ALDS) between the Yankees and Twins a couple of weeks ago, started his officiating career in 1990. He had more than 20 years of MLB umpiring experience.
Cooper umpired in 10 ALDS, 4 League Championship Series, the 2005 All-Star Game, and 2 World Baseball Classics. He was one of the best umpires on the field for a few biggest moments in the recent history of baseball.
His assignment for umpiring three no-hitters is the most among active MLB umpires. Players’ Union Chief Tony Clark said, “Eric Cooper’s friendly and familiar presence in the baseball community will be missed by all of us. He was a professional and gentleman whose passion for our game, the players and his fellow umpires was evident in the way he went about his work and life.”