PHILADELPHIA – Former major league umpire Eric Gregg, who struggled with weight problems that saw him reach almost 400 pounds, died Monday night, a day after a massive stroke. He was 55.
"I want him to be remembered as someone who loved the game of baseball, someone who was determined to make it no matter what," said his son, Kevin Gregg.
Gregg had complained to family members Sunday morning at his home in Ardmore, Pa., that he couldn't feel anything on his left side. He was hospitalized and died at 6:45 p.m. Monday.
Gregg was among 22 umpires who lost their jobs in 1999 when their labor plan of mass resignations backfired. Known for his large strike zone, he worked the 1989 World Series, four championship series, two division series and one All-Star game.
"He was so determined to be in the game and he got there," Kevin Gregg said.
Gregg called his first game in 1975 and became a member of the NL staff in 1978. He was left jobless after union head Richie Phillips called for mass resignations as a way of forcing an early start to contract negotiations.
In December 2004, Gregg and five other umpires whose resignations were accepted in 1999 received severance pay and health benefits for themselves and their families. Gregg received $400,000 under the deal.