On Sunday, October 3, 2021, in a contest between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs, Veteran Major League Baseball (MLB) Umpire Gerry Davis, 68, made history by umpiring in his 5,000th career game.
Mr. Davis has become closely affiliated with the Little League® program in recent years. First, through his involvement with the Little League MLB Classic, where in 2017, he became the first umpire to officiate a Little League Baseball® World Series game and MLB World Series game in the same season. Later that year, he joined the Little League team as a member of the Little League Volunteer Umpire Advisory Committee and most recently, his company Gerry Davis Sports was named as the official Umpire Uniform Provider for the Little League World Series.
“Little League is privileged to have Gerry Davis as a contributor and friend of the program,” said Hugh E. Tanner, Chairman of the Little League International Board of Directors. “We are proud to have someone as respected and accomplished as Gerry share in the spirit and enthusiasm of Little League. On behalf of the entire Little League International Board of Directors, we congratulate Gerry on this amazing accomplishment as he concludes his distinguished career as an MLB umpire.”
After Mr. Davis finished his two innings of umpiring on Lamade Stadium during the 71st Little League Baseball World Series in 2017, he assumed his duties as crew chief and home plate umpire for the inaugural MLB Little League Classic between the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates played annually at historic Bowman Field in Williamsport.
“Seeing Gerry take the field for his 5,000th game marked a truly special day in an illustrious career,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “What Gerry represents is stability, commitment, and, above all, passion and love for what he does. Through the years, and now 5,000 games, he is a living reminder that even at the highest level, baseball is a game, and is to be played and supported for fun. We congratulate him on his 5,000th game and his upcoming retirement.”
Over the past five years, Mr. Davis has also been a guest at the Little League International Congress, West Region Umpire School, and Little League Baseball World Series umpire orientation, and even provided a #LLPepTalk to umpires during the heart of the Coronavirus pandemic. “On behalf of the entire West Region of Little League Baseball and Softball, we congratulate one of our special instructors, Gerry Davis, on 5,000 games — an amazing feat,” said Mark Bernstein, Little League West Region Umpire-In-Chief. “We appreciate all of his dedication to our program and the volunteer umpires of all ages.”
For Mr. Davis, his first game in the Majors pitted his hometown Cardinals at the Montreal Expos on June 9, 1982. Some 40 years later, in reaching the 5,000-game plateau, he joins the likes of all-time leader Joe West, Hall of Famer Bill Klem, and Bruce Froemming and once again got to do so in front of his hometown of St. Louis. Mr. Davis intends to hang up his mask and retire at the conclusion of the 2021 Major League Baseball season, with is 5,000th game also coinciding with this final MLB regular season game as an umpire.
Mr. Davis has been to Williamsport a handful of times and has a great appreciation for what Little League means to the game of baseball. During his visits and countless conversations, he has established a collaborative relationship with Tom Rawlings, Little League’s Director of Umpire Development.
“Gerry Davis has become a tremendous supporter of the Little League program,” said Mr. Rawlings. “He is a commanding presence, yet humble and approachable. During my time working with him, it has been a collaboration and sharing of ideas focused solely on doing everything possible to inspire people to take up the role of umpire for the betterment of the children and improve the overall Little League experience.”
Mr. Davis intends to continue offering his expertise in support of Little League’s efforts in the areas of umpire recruitment, training, and education.