MILWAUKEE — A ball apparently thrown from the stands at Miller Park struck first-base umpire Joe West directly in the back of the head, leading to a seven-minute delay during the Miami-Milwaukee game as security personnel tried to locate the culprit.
West was positioned behind the bag with one out and Milwaukee’s Travis Shaw on first base in the fourth inning Friday. West remained on his feet after the ball struck him and remained at his post when play resumed.
Marlins pitcher Brad Ziegler, who is on the disabled list with a back strain, tweeted: “I hope they file assault charges for whoever just hit Joe West with the baseball. Absolutely ridiculous.”
The 64-year-old West, nicknamed “Cowboy” Joe, worked his 5,000th career regular-season game last week. He’s the third umpire to work at least 5,000 games, joining Hall of Famer Bill Klem (5,375) and Bruce Froemming (5,163).
West made his major league debut as a 23-year-old on Sept. 14, 1976. He joined the National League staff full time in 1978. His 40 seasons umpiring in the majors are the most by any umpire.
West also has also worked two All-Star Games, 123 postseason games and six World Series.