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MLB mourns the passing of umpire Wally Bell

Earlier this evening, Major League Baseball learned of the sudden passing of 21-year Major League Umpire Wally Bell, who was 48.

Bell joined the National League staff in 1993. He umpired three All-Star Games (1997, 2000, 2013), seven Division Series (1998-99, '03-04, '06, '12-13), four League Championship Series (2000, '01, '05, '10) and the 2006 World Series, when he was behind the plate for Game Three at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The Ohio native was the first base umpire in the 2013 Midsummer Classic at Citi Field in New York and he worked the recent Pirates-Cardinals N.L. Division Series. In the 2013 regular season, Bell was a member of Tim McClelland's crew.

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said: "All of us at Major League Baseball are in mourning tonight regarding the sudden passing of Wally Bell. I always enjoyed seeing Wally, who was a terrific umpire and such an impressive young man. On behalf of our 30 Clubs, I extend my deepest condolences to Wally's family, fellow Umpires and his many friends throughout the game."

MLB Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations Joe Torre said: "I am deeply saddened and shocked at the loss of Umpire Wally Bell. Umpiring was his life, and he touched so many people within the game of baseball. Aside from being an accomplished, All-Star-caliber umpire, Wally was a loving dad to his two teenage children. I extend my deepest condolences to them, his girlfriend Renee, the rest of his family and his admirers across Major League Baseball."

Major League Umpire Joe West, President of the World Umpires Association, said: "Wally was a great umpire, a great partner and a great friend. The umpiring community is deeply saddened by this tragic loss. He will be sorely missed by many."