Joe West ... today
Joe's 39-year career ranks as the most ever by a Major League Umpire...his 4,942 regular season games entering 2017 rank third behind Bill Klemm's 5,375 games and Bruce Froemming's 5,163. Joe's 123 Postseason games rank second behind Gerry Davis' 133 and he has worked more World Series games than any current Major League Umpire. Joe has worked with more than 130 different umpires either in regular season, Postseason, All-Star or exhibition games...two of those (Doug Harvey and Nestor Chylak) later were iducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Joe says, "I've worked with a lot more who should be there."
Joe has umpired games for 55 different Hall of Famers who were either players, coaches, or managers...he umpired the first two Wild Card Games in National League history....he's umpired two All-Star Games, eight Division Series, nine League Championships, and six World Series. His career has spanned six of the 10 Commissioners in the history of Baseball.
Credit the best image of the session to Cowboy Joe. Joe agreed to sit for me in-between games of a double header at PETCO Park this past summer. Being respectful of his short window of time I worked fast behind the camera. After ten minutes of firing off the shots I told Joe we were done and thanked him again for his time. It was then that he said, "Rich, throughout my career no one has ever photographed me wearing the mask." I replied..."til now." I returned to the camera and followed his suggestion in to what turned out to be the lead image of the entire session.