Stephen Michael Palermo was born October 9, 1949 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Palermo attended Worcester State College and enrolled in the Umpire Development Program in 1972. It took him only five years to get to the major league level. He was one of the first A.L. Umpires to not use the large outside chest protector that the N.L. umps had stopped using years before. A.L. umps hired prior to 1977 were grand fathered in & were not required to use the inside chest protectors.