Longtime MLB umpire Chuck Meriwether dead at 63

Mark Townsend
Yahoo Sports Contributor
Chuck Meriwether, an umpire with 18 years' experience and current Major League Baseball supervisor, has died at 63. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Chuck Meriwether, a veteran umpire of 18 years and nine-year supervisor for Major League Baseball’s umpires, has died at age 63.

In a statement released on Saturday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recognized Meriwether as a role model, gentleman and trailblazer for African-American umpires who have followed his path.

“Chuck Meriwether was an accomplished umpire on the field, a role model for our staff and a true gentleman in life. He made a significant impact in his nine years as an Umpire Supervisor. Chuck will be remembered for his genial manner and the outstanding example he set for others, particularly for African American umpires who followed him. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to his wife Rita, his sons Jeremy and Christopher, the Major League Umpires and his many friends throughout our game.”

Born Julius Edward "Chuck" Meriwether on June 30, 1956 in Nashville, Tenn., Meriwether would go on to become MLB’s fifth African-American umpire.

During his decorated career, Meriwether worked eight division series, two league championship series, and the 2004 and 2007 World Series. Meriwether was the home plate umpire for Game 4 of the 2004 World Series when the Boston Red Sox won their first championship in 86 years.

Meriwether was also involved in two of MLB’s 23 perfect games. He was the third base umpire for David Cone’s perfect game on July 18, 1999, and the second base umpire for Mark Buehrle’s perfect game on July 23, 2009.

In 2011, Meriwether joined MLB’s umpiring department as a supervisor. He spent the next nine years evaluating and mentoring the current crop of MLB umpires.

In 2016, the umpire dressing room at Nashville's First Tennessee Park was named after Meriwether, thus cementing a legacy that’s held in high esteem not only in his hometown, but all throughout baseball.

More from Yahoo Sports: