Longtime MLB umpire Joe West to retire after 2021 post-season

In this Sept. 27, 2019, file photo, umpire Joe West stands on the field during a baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and the Washington Nationals in Washington. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Soon, Joe West will no longer be calling balls or strikes behind the plate as the longtime umpire told Major League Baseball that he will retire after the 2021 playoffs.

The 68-year-old broke Bill Klem's record for most games umpired back in May when he was behind the plate for his 5,376th game.

"Breaking the record was the goal," West said in an interview with ESPN. "I thought I would do it last year but the season got a little messed up, and I don't think it was right to work until the point of the record then just quit."

West will work at least one more game as he is expected to be behind the plate for the National League Wild Card game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals.

He began working for MLB in 1976 as an umpire but spent time away from the game when he resigned in 1999 during a labour dispute with the league. He would return in 2002 and elected the president of The Major League Baseball Umpires Association, where he helped secure a long-term contract with MLB in 2009.

West was named the second-worst umpire in baseball and the quickest trigger for ejecting players in a survey done by ESPN back in 2010.

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