North Carolina-Joe West-November 1

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-November 1

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

Was watching Game 5 of the World Series when the announcer for FOX TV Joe Buck mentioned that the first base umpire Joe West, who almost lost his head on a screaming line drive foul ball was a former college QB at Elon.


Joe West worked his first MLB game in 1976 at the age of 23. In 1981, West was 28 when he worked the NLCS, the youngest to ever so do. Additionally, West’s tenure has spanned five of the nine MLB commissioners in the history of the game.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

Joe’s umpiring career has spanned the terms of five MLB commissioners. Some of his umpiring highlights include working home plate when San Francisco Giants great Willie McCovey hit his 500th home run. He also was on the field when future hall-of-famer Greg Maddux started his first game, and Joe worked first base when Nolan Ryan threw his fifth of seven career no-hitters.

In addition, he designed and patented the “West Vest,” the only chest protector endorsed by MLB for use by its umpires.


Joe West was born in Asheville, NC but lived most of his childhood years in Greenville, NC . He was a standout football player for Rose HS in Greenville, NC and started out his college athletic career at ECU on the football team in 1970  but transferred to Elon in 1971.

At Elon Joe West became the starting QB and the team won three conference championships. West left Elon holding three passing records that were not broken for 20 years, and was inducted into the Elon Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.

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