Eric Cooper, MLB umpire and Iowa native, dies at 52

Local News

Home plate umpire Eric Cooper calls everyone in for a rain delay during the fifth inning of a baseball game between the Colorado Rockies and the Pittsburgh Pirates, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

A Major League Baseball umpire from Iowa died suddenly at 52, MLB commissioner Robert Manfred announced Sunday.

Eric Cooper, a 1989 graduate of Iowa State, was a 21-year veteran umpire in Major League Baseball. He started umpiring in the minors in 1990 and made his way to the big leagues in 1999.

Cooper called three no-hitters in his time, including both no-no’s from White Sox leftie Mark Buehrle. He also had a lot of postseason experience, working three Wild Card games, 10 Division Series and the 2014 World Series. He was also on the umpiring team for the 2019 ALDS between the Yankees and Twins.

Cooper died after suffering a blood clot while recovering from knee surgery, according to the Associated Press.

Commissioner Manfred issued a statement Sunday on behalf of Major League Baseball honoring Cooper’s memory.

“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,” Manfred said.

“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.”

Manfred also said Cooper will be honored during this year’s World Series, which begins Tuesday.

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