Major League Baseball today mourns the passing of Umpire Supervisor Steve Palermo, who was 67.
Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: "Steve Palermo was a great umpire, a gifted communicator and a widely respected baseball official, known in our sport for his leadership and courage. He had an exceptional impact on both his fellow Major League Umpires and baseball fans, who benefited from his ability to explain the rules of our game. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Steve's wife Debbie, the World Umpires Association and his many friends and admirers throughout the game."
Palermo made his Major League debut as an American League Umpire on October 2, 1976, and was a full-time member of the AL staff from 1977-1991. During his tenure on the field, Palermo worked the 1983 World Series and the 1986 All-Star Game in Houston. The Worcester, Massachusetts native also umpired four American League Championship Series (1980, 82, 84, 89). Palermo was the third base umpire for the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox A.L. East tiebreaker game on October 2, 1978 at Fenway Park. Five years later, he was behind the plate for Dave Righetti's no-hitter on the Fourth of July at Yankee Stadium.
Palermo's on-field umpiring career was abbreviated on July 7, 1991, when he was shot in the back while coming to the aid of a robbery victim in the parking lot of a Dallas restaurant. Palermo was hired by MLB as a Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Major League Executive Council on April 6, 1994. Palermo was part of the first joint committee on training and collaborated on the first Major League Umpire Manual. In 2000, Palermo became an Umpire Supervisor for Major League Baseball, serving as a liaison between the Major League Umpires and the Office of the Commissioner.
In July 2005, Palermo served as honorary commissioner at The White House Tee Ball initiative on the South Lawn, featuring children with physical disabilities. The program was launched by President George W. Bush in 2001 to promote a spirit of teamwork and service for America's youth. Palermo was honored prior to the start of the 2012 All-Star Game in his adopted hometown of Kansas City, where he escorted the Midsummer Classic umpires to home plate.