It is difficult to find an MLB umpire whose name stirs up more emotion among fans than Don Denkinger. He was a legend in his era.
Denkinger’s family confirmed on May 12 that he had gone away at home in Iowa at the age of 86. He stopped refereeing in the big leagues in 1998, although his name is still among the most well-known of those who held that position.
MLB Communications said on Twitter: “Today MLB remembers longtime American League Umpire Don Denkinger, who passed away at 86. The genial Denkinger was on the field from 1969-1998 and worked four World Series, the last of which included plate duties for the epic Morris-Smoltz Game 7 in 1991. Rest in Peace, Don.”
Today MLB remembers longtime American League Umpire Don Denkinger, who passed away at 86. The genial Denkinger was on the field from 1969-1998 and worked four World Series, the last of which included plate duties for the epic Morris-Smoltz Game 7 in 1991. Rest in Peace, Don. pic.twitter.com/ZHWqGA2RPB
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) May 12, 2023
Denkinger, a college wrestler, started as a minor league baseball umpire in 1960 when he was 24 years old. He reached the big nine years later. Don Denkinger encountered some of the most intense scenarios that have ever occurred in an MLB game throughout his 30-year tenure.
He presided over four World Series, one of which is likely to live in infamy. Denkinger made a call in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals that has become so legendary among MLB fans that it is frequently referred to as “The Call.”
Even though a video replay clearly showed that Royals runner Jorge Orta was out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Denkinger decided that Orta was safe at first base. The Cardinals lost focus as a result of the call, allowing two runs to force a Game 7 that they eventually won
Don Denkinger swiftly rose to the top of the most despised individuals in the MLB. He was well-known for getting de@th threats from Cardinals supporters because of the poor call, which he later publicized by even signing signatures on stop-motion pictures of the incident.
Even before the 1987 World Series game between the Cardinals and Minnesota Twins, which he was also refereeing, he had to phone the FBI.
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Don Denkinger Cause of De@th
In the Iowan town of Waterloo, Denkinger passed away at the age of 86 from natural causes. His wife Gayle and their three kids are left behind.