|88 – Doug Eddings|
September 14, 1968 |
Las Cruces, New Mexico
|Dana DeMuth (crew chief)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|All-Star Game (2004)
Division Series (2000, 02)
League Championship Series (2005)
Douglas Leon Eddings (born September 14, 1968) is an umpire in Major League Baseball. He came to public attention with a controversial call during Game Two of the 2005 American League Championship Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Eddings started umpiring Little League games at 14, and in his early career worked throughout the minor leagues. He started working American League games in 1998, and has worked throughout both major leagues since 2000. Prior to the White Sox-Angels series, Eddings worked AL Division Series in 2000 and 2002, as well as the 2004 All-Star Game. He also was the home plate umpire for Cal Ripken Jr.'s final major league game on October 6, 2001. He wears uniform number 88.
Eddings was the second base umpire for the game between the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres on August 4, 2007 at San Diego when Barry Bonds tied Hank Aaron for first place on Major League Baseball's career home run list by hitting his 755th career home run.
Eddings is known for his forceful throws when giving a new ball to pitcher. Eddings can be seen stepping out of his home plate stance and delivering a hard throw straight to the pitcher on the mound. In contrast, most umpires hand a new ball to the catcher, or lightly toss the baseball to the pitcher.
The call which brought Eddings national attention came on October 12, 2005 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. The Angels were up one game to none in the ALCS, having won the previous game despite reported exhaustion  from playing the previous two nights in Yankee Stadium and Angel Stadium. Game two was tied 1–1 with the White Sox batting in the bottom of the ninth inning; Chicago had recorded two outs in the inning.
White Sox batter A. J. Pierzynski faced Angels relief pitcher Kelvim Escobar, who quickly got two strikes. Pierzynski swung at Escobar's third pitch, a splitter which came in very low. Angels catcher Josh Paul said after the game, "I caught the ball so I thought the inning was over." Eddings later said the ball had not been legally caught, but made no audible call that the ball hit the ground.
Not hearing himself called out, Pierzynski took a couple of steps toward the dugout, then turned and ran to first base while most of the Angels were walking off the field. A pinch-runner, Pablo Ozuna, replaced Pierzynski and stole second base. Ozuna scored on a base hit by Third baseman Joe Crede for the winning run.
The controversy surrounding the play concerns both whether Eddings' ruling that the ball hit the ground was correct, and the unclear mechanic for signaling the ruling. Eddings did not indicate no-catch signals during the game. In fact, in the second inning of the same game, Eddings had ruled no catch on a third strike to Garret Anderson of the Angels, but the White Sox were not aware of the ruling until Eddings called Anderson out as he entered the dugout. At the time, professional umpiring mechanics did not dictate a specific no-catch signal or a "no catch" verbalization after an uncaught third strike. A mechanic has subsequently been added.
According to umpire supervisor Rich Reiker the replays showed "there was definitely a change in direction there" indicating the ball touched the ground. He felt, at best, the replay was inconclusive.
After the game, Eddings explained his actions: "My interpretation is that was my 'strike three' mechanic, when it's a swinging strike. If you watch, that's what I do the whole entire game. ... I did not say 'No catch.' If you watch the play, you do watch me — as I'm making the mechanic, I'm watching Josh Paul, and so I'm seeing what he's going to do. I'm looking directly at him while I'm watching Josh Paul. That's when Pierzynski ran to first base."
The White Sox went on to win the next three games of the series and advance to their first World Series since 1959. The White Sox then won the World Series in a four game sweep over the Houston Astros.
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