Major League umpire Eric Cooper has died at the age of 52, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced in a statement on Sunday.
“This is a very sad day across Major League Baseball,” Manfred said in the statement. “Eric Cooper was a highly respected umpire, a hard worker on the field and a popular member of our staff. 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. He was known for his professionalism and his enthusiasm, including for our international events.
“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, a major league umpire for 21 years including this season, most recently worked the ALDS between the Yankees and Twins earlier this month. He joined the Major Leagues in 1999 after a minor league career that began in 1990.
The Iowa native worked behind the plate for three no-hitters in his career: both of White Sox lefty Mark Buehrle’s and one by Red Sox pitcher Hideo Nomo. He also worked the 2014 World Series, where he was behind the plate for Game 2 between the Royals and Giants.