Thursday, December 9, 2010

Major League Umpire Mike Reilly Biography

Michael Eugene Reilly (born July 2, 1949 in Sioux City, Iowa) is an umpire in Major League Baseball who has worked in the American League from 1977 to 1999 and throughout both major leagues since 2000. Reilly was raised and still resides in Battle Creek, Michigan, the breakfast cereal capital of the world (a fact which prompted longtime baseball broadcaster Ernie Harwell to nickname him "Corn Flakes Reilly"). Upon Ed Montague's retirement in February 2010, Reilly became Major League Baseball's senior umpire; his 4,362 career games ranked ninth in major league history entering the 2010 season.

He has umpired in the World Series in 1984, 1992, 2002 and 2007, and in the All-Star Game in 1982, 1993, 2000, and 2010, calling balls and strikes for the last two contests. He has also officiated in nine League Championship Series (1983, 1987, 1991, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2006), 2008) and six Division Series (1981, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2007). He also umpired in the 1976 Caribbean World Series. He was the third base umpire for David Wells' perfect game on May 17, 1998.

Reilly has worn the uniform number 31 since the American League adopted numbers in 1980. He continued to wear the number when umpires were combined into a single staff under the supervision of Major League Baseball in 2000.

Along with Steve Palermo, Reilly was one of the first American League umpires to never use the outside chest protector. Reilly and Palermo came to the junior circuit in 1977, the year the AL mandated all new umpires on staff would have to use the inside chest protector, which had been in use in the National League for decades. Umpires on staff prior to 1977 were grandfathered and could continue to wear the outside protector.

Reilly received an associate's degree from K.C.C. Junior College in 1970. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and works with the Food Bank South Central Michigan. He was elected to St. Philip Catholic Central Hall of Fame in 1999 and is recognized by American Amateur Baseball as a consultant. He became interested in umpiring after taking a sports officiating class in college. His proudest moment as a major league umpire was working his first World Series (1984) in his home state. He coaches basketball at St. Philip/St. Joseph in the offseason and his hobbies include hunting, fishing, golfing and following the University of Notre Dame. He is such a fan, that at the Army/Notre Dame game, he was sitting 3 rows from the top of the stadium with his wife Mary at this year's first collegiate game ever played at the new Yankee Stadium.

Reilly's wife Mary graduated from the University of Michigan and is currently an elementary teacher. Together they have four children: Katie, Ryan, Patrick and Conor. Katie attended Michigan State and now lives in Florida. Ryan attended Albion College, and played baseball for the Britons. Patrick attends Western Michigan, and Conor recently graduated from St. Philip Catholic Central, where Mike Reilly graduated in 1968.

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