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Joe West breaks umpiring record with 5,376th game


CHICAGO (AP) — No arguing this: Cowboy Joe is No. 1 on the chart.

Joe West set baseball’s umpiring record when the Chicago White Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-3 on Tuesday night. West was behind the plate for his 5,376th regular-season game, snapping a tie with Hall of Famer Bill Klem.

West, who reached the majors in 1976 and turns 69 on Oct. 31, got his picture taken with his crew before the game started. He also posed for photos with managers Tony La Russa of the White Sox and Mike Shildt of the Cardinals.

After the lineup cards were exchanged, St. Louis pitcher Adam Wainwright walked out to the plate to shake West’s hand.

West was visited by baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, former Commissioner Peter Ueberroth and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. The ump’s supporters in the crowd included country music singer Emmylou Harris and former NBA center Mark Eaton, a conspicuous 7-foot-4 figure in the postgame picture with West surrounded by an eclectic group of connections from his long career.

“It was tough to hold back a tear or two, but Tom Hanks said there is no crying in baseball, so you can’t do it,” West said, referring to Hanks’ iconic line in the movie “A League of Their Own.”

“It was a very nice thing,” he said.

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