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Joe West's Bio:
bulletMLB Umpire: Crew Chief 
 
bulletMajor League Service Time: 32 Years
 
bullet Career:  Finished  first in the 1974 Umpire Development Class (now known as the Jim Evans  Academy)...began minor league career in the Western Carolinas League  and was selected to its Hall of Fame in 2002...worked the Carolina  League (1975), Southern League (1975-1976), the American Association  (1976-1977) and the Puerto Rican Winter League (1977)...worked first  Major League game in September 1976 at age 23...became full-time  National League staff member in April 1978...has worked two All-Star  Games (1987, 2005), five Division Series (1995, 2002, 05, 08-09),  seven League Championship Series (1981, 86, 88, 93, 96, 2003-04) and  four World Series (1992, 97, 2005, 09)...worked the San Diego round of  the 2009 World Baseball Classic... participated in MLB’s Umpire Camp  for Marines as an instructor in March 2009 in San Diego...was the  youngest umpire ever to work a NLCS in 1981 at age 28... Worked his  4,000 game July 30, 2009...his 88 post seasons games is 9th all  time...serves as the president of the World Umpires Association, which  recently agreed to a five-year pact with Major League Baseball through December  2014.
 
bulletPersonal: Born in Asheville, NC  in October 1952...resides in Clermont, Florida...played college  football at East Carolina (safety on the freshman team) and was  three-year starting quarterback at Elon College (now Elon University),  where he threw for 4,337 yards and 35 touchdowns, leading the team to  three Carolinas Conference Championships and a number two national  ranking in NAIA Division 1 in 1973...was named MVP of that 1973 team  whose only loss was in the Championship Game (for NAIA  Division 1) to Abilene Christian, led by future Dallas Cowboys  quarterback Clint Longley and Pro Football Hall of Famer Wilbur  Montgomery......Joe was inducted into the Elon Sports Hall of Fame in  1986, part of the same class as legendary North Carolina State  basketball coach Kay Yow...designed all of Wilson Sporting Goods’  "high" end umpires equipment and owns the United States, Canadian,  Australian, and Japanese patent on the chest protector known worldwide  as the "West Vest (found here) .'' His equipment is the only equipment endorsed by Major League  Baseball for use by its umpires...Made a cameo  appearance on the television show "The Oldest Rookie" and was the  third base umpire in the spin off of "Police Squad's" movie "The Naked  Gun"... made guest appearances on the "American Nightly Scoreboard"  and "Best Damn Sports Show".
 
bulletAn avid golfer, has played in four sanctioned Celebrity Tour events and is a regular at the Natchez Children's Home Tournament to raise fund for the children who live at the "Home" in Natchez, Mississippi.

bulletSinger/songwriter: Nicknamed "Cowboy Joe" or "Country Joe"  for his singing and songwriting, Joe emceed and sang with the "Living  Legends Golden Tour'' at the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, PA  in March 2007. The show included Grand Ole Opry stars Jan Howard,  Freddie Hart, Stonewall Jackson, Jack Greene, Helen Cornelius and Jim  Ed Brown...Joe is a regular performer at "John A's Little Palace" in  Nashville, TN and has often performed with Ray and Ron Herndon at  "Handle Bar J's" in Scottsdale, AZ...Joe has performed with country  music stars Mickey Gilley, Johnny Lee, Merle Haggard, Bonnie Owens,  T.G. Sheppard, Box Car Willie (for whom he was a pallbearer in  1999), Randy Corner, Jimmie C. Newman, Marty Martel, Ron Gaddis, Kent  Goodson, Wayne Money, Jon Potter and rock and roll artists "Skunk"  Baxter, Jason Scheff (Chicago), Rick Seratte (White Snake) and Les  Dudek (Allman Brothers)...Joe has also performed with world-renowned  bands such as "The Statesiders" (Mel Tillis's band), "The Jones Boys"  (George Jones' Band), "The Gems" (Jim Ed Brown's band), "The Red Rose  Express" and "The Urban Cowboy Band" (Mickey Gilley's bands), "The  Bayou City Beats" (voted the No. 1 club band in America), "The Super  Grit Cowboy Band," "The Nashville Now Band," and he performed at the  Grand Ole Opry with Charlie McCoy and "The Hee Haw  Band''...Joe has two albums "Blue Cowboy" and "Diamond  Dreams" which are marketed by Good and Western Records (available here)...In 2009 Arbors Records had  Joe perform on two tracks ("Promised Land" and "Grain of Salt")in  their first ever endeavor into Country Music on the album  "Diggin' Up Bones" featuring Bucky Pizzarelli (world  famous jazz guitarist) and his son John Pizzarelli(who just received  the Ella Fitzgerald award for 2009)...Joe is a  member of the Celebrity Players Golf Tour and participates in the  "World Series of Golf" held at Pebble Beach the first of December  every year.
 
bulletJoe's peers in baseball regard him as one of the finest umpires in Major League Baseball, and now his singing and songwriting, are making him a successful artist, songwriter, and entertainer in the Country Music Industry. Joe  West has become a star in two fields of entertainment, Country Music and Major League Baseball. Check out his photo gallery here!

 


Veteran Umpire Joe West

 

 

"Diamond Dreams"

The "Diamond Dreams" are what generations of us have shared in our love for the Great National Pastime. The four sided baseball "Diamond" is simply the whole level playing field. Joe and I strived to shape our project that way: an honest narrative on a canvas of music with the spirit and love for the game of baseball.

I first met Joe at an after hours bar in Bally' Casino in Reno Nevada in 1988. I was in to my sixth year of what now has become my twenty-five years playing piano for George Jones. We had just finished playing the" Legends Show" in the showroom which included George, Conway Twitty, and Merle Haggard. Joe was with some of Merle Haggard's band members. Bonnie Owens introduced Joe to me. He was an  instantly likeable guy. He was witty and interesting and seemed to have a great love for life. He talked about music, baseball and solving the problems of this world for most of the night.

We stayed in touch through the years. Joe would show up to our performances in Florida or North Carolina. I knew Joe had recorded a country album of originals and covers. One day we were both working in Kansas City, and I told him about the idea I had for a "spoken word" CD from the heart of Joe West, the veteran umpire, about baseball. "So you want me to talk on the CD?" Joe said with a skeptical look in his eye. "Yes, I want you to talk about baseball like you did the night I first met you in Reno and I will put the music behind what you say."  I replied, waiting for a reaction from him. A long pause followed. And then he spoke, "What, you don't  like my singing?" which was immediately followed by that infectious laugh of his. We still laugh today about that exchange. But the rest of our conversation that day focused on the concept for "Diamond Dreams".

As I look back on how this CD came together, I realize that I am a musician and Joe is an umpire. But his love for music and my love for baseball bonded us in this project. Thanks Joe, for believing in this idea and thanks to all of you who share in our Diamond Dreams!

- Kent Goodson/ Co-Producer

Listen to some samples of Diamond Dreams
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  Diamond Dreams 3:18

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A Piece of History Everyday 2:47

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Characters of the Game 7:59

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A Thank You to Our Military 2:00

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Extra Innings 18:47

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Out at Home 2:22

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The Men in Blue 1:44

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"Blue Cowboy"

"He's country through and through....from the crown of his Stetson to the toes of this boots...from North Carolina, where he was born, to deep in the heart of Texas, where he lived for years. And his special brand of music, from the upbeat "You Can't Run with the Big Dogs" to the heart rending "Take This Bike to Tommy," does anything to believe this heritage.

One of Joe's personal favorites on this album is the stirring instrumental "Dixie". Naturally, he doffs his hat, too, when he hears the fiddle player Tommy Melder's stirring arrangement of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", because that's a big part of Joe West, too - Major League Umpire.

Joe's peers in baseball regard him as one of the finest umpires in the league. With his singing and some writing style, it won't be long before he builds himself a great reputation in the field of country music.

Out or safe, one thing is certain about Joe West,  he's a hit!"

Baseball Writers:
- Gordon Verrell
- Terry Johnson

Listen to some clips here!


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Get both CD's for a great price!

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"Blue Cowboy" and "Diamond Dreams"


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A complete line of professional umpire equipment and accessories including umpire masks, umpire chest protectors, shin guards and much more!!!

  West Vest Platinum Chest Protector  West Vest Umpire Shin Guards

 

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