Retired umpire Pulli loses battle with Parkinson's
NL veteran of 28 years was first to unofficially utilize instant replay in game
Frank Pulli, an umpire of 28 years in the National League, died of complications from Parkinson's disease on Wednesday.
Pulli, who was 78, umpired in 10 playoff series -- four of them World Series -- and two All-Star Games. But he is best known for two specific moments in baseball history.
During Game 5 of the 1978 World Series, Pulli was the first-base umpire when Yankees slugger Reggie Jackson was controversially hit by a throw running from first to second. Although Jackson's leg appeared to move toward the ball, Pulli ruled that he did not intentionally interfere with the throw, much to the dismay of livid Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda.
Then, in a 1999 game between the Marlins and Cardinals, Pulli consulted a dugout TV monitor to determine whether a Cliff Floyd home run had actually cleared the fence. Although the league office ruled that Pulli had made the wrong decision in using replay, he became a bit of a pioneer -- baseball's first umpire to use instant replay.
Pulli had his contract terminated in 1999 after the umpires went on strike. He is survived by his wife, Kim, and six children.