Engel Gets 3-Year Probation, Retires

Suspended National League umpire Bob Engel announced his retirement after being sentenced Wednesday to three years on probation and ordered to perform 40 hours of community service for stealing baseball cards.

Bakersfield Municipal Court Judge Lee Felice also ordered Engel to continue obtaining counseling until the counselor thinks he no longer needs therapy.

Through his attorney, Engel pleaded no contest earlier in the day.

The professional help he sought made him "realize that a family difficulty four or five years ago had contributed to the problem," Engel said.

He said his major league umpiring career is finished.

"It's one or two years earlier than I planned," said Engel, 57. "It's hard for me to imagine a life without baseball."

Engel, who has been a major league umpire since 1965, was charged with stealing baseball cards from one store in his hometown of Bakersfield and trying to steal cards from a second store.

He was placed on indefinite suspension by the National League on April 24 after the charges first were revealed.

Engel earlier pleaded not guilty to shoplifting seven boxes containing 4,180 baseball cards from a department store on April 21 and trying to steal 50 packs of baseball cards from a consumer warehouse in January. The complaint listed the value of the cards involved in both counts at less than $200, making them misdemeanors.

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