Former MLB Umpire Ed Sudol & His Epic Mets Games Behind the Plate

Edward Lawrence Sudol was born on September 13th, 1920 in Passaic New Jersey. He attended Farleigh Dickenson University at Rutherford, long before the Meadowlands NFL football arrived in the area.

He played minor league ball through the forties in various farm systems. He batted over .300 twice, while playing mostly as a first baseman. By 1953 he retired from playing & began to umpire. He first worked in the Tri State League, then the AAA International League from 1955-1957 when he got called up to the big leagues.

Sudol was a National League umpire from 1957-1977 working three World Series & many classic baseball games. He was the home plate umpire in the 1965 World Series for Game #4 at Dodger Stadium as Don Drysdale beat Mudcat Grant striking out nine Minnesota Twins.

Sudol also worked the 1971 World Series, serving as the home plate umpire in Game #2 at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium as the Orioles hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sudol worked his third & final World Series in his final season, 1977.

He worked behind the plate in Game #2 in New York as the Dodgers beat the AL New York club 6-1 on HRs by Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Reggie Smith & Steve Yeagar. Sudol was also on the field umpiring in Atlanta in 1974 when Hank Aaron broke the all time HR mark.

Sudol played a part in some classic New York Mets games as well. On May 31st, 1964, he came to a brand new Shea Stadium, to work a double header. He arrived at the ballpark at 11:00 AM & would not leave until two the next morning.

He was working behind the plate for the second game which would last seven hours & 23 minutes. The game started out between with the San Francisco Giants sending out Bobby Bolin to pitch against Bill Wakefield & the New York Mets. Twelve pitchers would take the mound during the day and a total of 42 players would participate in the game.

The Mets would come from behind 6-1 to tie the game on Joe Christopher’s three run HR in the 7th inning. The score would remain that way (6-6) for sixteen more innings until Del Crandal & Jesus Alou drove in runs off the Mets Galen Cisco in the top of the 23rd.

Less than a month later he was behind the plate again at Shea Stadium on Father’s Day 1964 as the Phillies Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game against the New York Mets. Sudol said the pressure was on him as well, as he was aware of the perfect game all along because the giant Shea scoreboard staring right at him the entire game.

On April 15th, 1968 Sudol worked home plate at the Houston Astrodome in a game between the Mets & the Astros. Tom Seaver pitched 10 innings of two hit shut out baseball for New York & Don Wilson pitched nine innings of shutout five hit ball for Houston. Neither pitcher would be around for the end, as this game took six hours & six minutes, as well as 24 innings to finish. In the bottom of the 24th inning, Houston’s Bob Aspromonte hit a ground ball to short stop Al Weis, he made the error allowing the winning run to score from third base.

Sudol worked the 1973 NLCS between the New York Mets & Cincinnati Reds working home plate for Game #1 in Riverfront Stadium.

It was a classic pitchers duel in which Tom Seaver allowed just one run on five hits until the bottom of the 9th when he allowed a walk off HR to Johnny Bench. The Reds Jack Billingham held the Mets to just three hits, their only run driven in by a Tom Seaver double.

If this wasn’t’ enough, Sudol had one more 25 innings epic game involving the Mets & St. Louis Cardinals at Shea Stadium on September 11th 1974. (see centerfieldmaz article above) Sudol said when he worked games in New York he stayed with his mom at his old house in Pasaic, NJ.

For this game his brother attended & stayed the entire game. Afterwards they went to a diner & it took him twenty minutes of walking around the parking lot to shake off the cramps from his legs.

That night Sudol was hit by foul balls seven times, he never left the field & got home at 5:00 AM.

In another classic Sudol Umpire event, during an NBC Saturday afternoon Game of the Week played at Wrigley Field in Chicago in 1969, he stripped down to his wearing his protective gear over just a white under shirt.

It was a hot humid day & as the other umpires took off their jackets umpiring in official umpire shirts, Sudol just wore his Tee.

Sudol eventually retired to Daytona Beach Florida, enjoying life in sunny Florida. He passed away in 2004 at age 84 after a bout with Alzheimer’s.


Unknown said…
This is my Grandfather I miss him so dearly what an amazing man!
Anonymous said…
Behind the plate and handled Billy Martin's "Don't you be intimidating me!" with text book accuracy and class.
Unknown said…
Ed Sudol was my uncle. My father, Steve Sudol was at the 24 inning game previously mentioned in this article. I have many fond memories of my uncle as he always stayed with his mother, Anna Sudol in Passaic NJ when he had any Mets games at Shea Stadium. My dad frequently drove him to Shea in the 60's !
Unknown said…
Thank you for this information. Ed Sudol was my uncle. My dad was at Shea Stadium for the 24 inning game between the Mets and the SF Giants! I have many fond memories of my uncle Ed.
Unknown said…
Thank you for this bit of Ed Sudol history, my aunt received tickets from Mr Sudol occasionally at San Francisco's Sheraton Palace Tudor Room, MLB umpires choose the Sheraton, I wish I'd had a chance to personally thank him, as a kid, getting those great field side tix was a treat ! Bob Lannon, Gridley CA

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