Longtime major league umpire Frank Pulli, who used instant replay to make a call nearly a decade before video reviews were allowed, has died at Palm Harbor, Fla. He was 78.
“He was ahead of his time,” Atlanta manager
Pulli umpired in the
In the 1978 World Series between the
Pulli was among the 22 umpires who lost their jobs in a failed mass resignation. He was an MLB umpire supervisor from 2000-07 and charted pitches, helping umps improve their ball-strike calls.
Many young umpires looked at Pulli as a mentor. He also was a pioneer — not that he intended to be one.
Early in the 1999 season, Cliff Floyd of the
That drew a beef from the
“He called a home run and
In 2008, MLB approved the use of replay on potential home runs.
The Marlins weren't so satisfied at the time. They filed a protest that was denied by NL president Len Coleman. But Coleman also said Pulli was incorrect to use replay.
Gonzalez, then a coach who was filling in as the Marlins' manager while
“What I remember most about that whole thing was he was a total gentleman,” Gonzalez recalled. “Here I was, this guy who wasn't even supposed to be managing, and he treated me with respect.”
Even when Gonzalez announced he planned to protest the game because Pulli relied on a replay.
“I wanted to protest the game,” Gonzalez said. “He said, `Are you sure you want to do that, kid?' So I asked him, `Can I protest?' And he said, `Yeah.“’
After the game, Pulli said it was the first time he had used a TV replay to make a call.
“I sure don't want to make a habit of it,” he said then. “But at that moment, I thought it was the proper thing to do.”
“A lot of things went through my mind,” he said. “I hope I don't have to go to the replay again. I don't want it to become like football.”
Pulli was part of another noted play during Game 4 of the 1978 World Series. The Dodgers tried to turn an inning-ending double play in the sixth, but a relay throw by second baseman Davey Lopes glanced off Jackson's leg.
A run scored and Lasorda argued that Jackson should've been out for interference. Pulli was at first base and allowed the play to stand. The Yankees won in 10 innings, and wrapped up the title in six games.
Pulli also was the first base umpire when