Wednesday, March 3, 2010

John Kibler, Umpire for Bill Buckner’s Error, Dies at 81

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — John Kibler, a longtime National League umpire, died here Thursday. He was 81.

Kibler died of a heart attack, his family said. Kibler worked his first major league game in 1963 and was a full-time National League umpire from 1965 through 1989. He worked the World Series four times, and was at first base for Game 6 of the 1986 Series between the Mets and the Boston Red Sox, which the Mets famously won when Mookie Wilson’s ground ball rolled between first baseman Bill Buckner’s legs.

Kibler was the plate umpire for Game 7, when the Mets beat the Red Sox for the championship.

Kibler served in the Navy during the Korean War and left the New York state police to go to umpiring school. He started out as a minor league umpire in the late 1950s and became a major league crew chief in 1977.

He was married for 51 years. Kibler and his wife, Dorothy, had two sons.

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