About Joe West
MLB Umpire: Crew Chief
Major League Service Time: 42 years
Career: Finished first in the 1974 Umpire Development Class … began umpiring professionally in the Western Carolinas League (now known as the Sally League) and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2002…. Worked in the Carolina League (1975), Southern League (1975 and parts of 1976), the American Association (the end of 1976 and part of 1977) and the Puerto Rican Winter League(1977)… was called up to work eight games in September of 1976 in the National League at age 23….became full time National League Umpire in April of 1978… Youngest umpire to ever work a National League Championship Series and he’s since worked 9 more. Worked 8 Divisional Series, the first two National League Wild Card games, three All Star Games, and 6 World Series …. His 129 post season games is second all time… His 5,310 regular season games is also second all time. He was President of the Major League Umpire’s union for three terms and while he was President, they were the highest paid sports officials in all of sports …. voted one of the top 100 most influential figures in Major League Baseball by USA Today.
Personal: Born in Asheville, North Carolina in 1952 … currently resides in Clermont, Florida … played college football at East Carolina (safety on the Freshman Team) and was a three year starting quarterback at Elon College (now Elon University) where he threw for 4,337 yards and 35 touchdowns, leading them to three conference championships and a number two NAIA National Ranking in his senior year… was named the MVP of the 1973 team whose only loss was to an Abilene Christian team that had Clint Longley as quarterback (former Dallas Cowboy QB) and a pro football Hall of Famer named Wilbur Montgomery … Inducted into the Elon College Sports Hall of Fame in 1986 in the same class as legendary North Carolina State basketball coach Kay Yow. … Inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2018 … Designed all of Wilson Sporting Goods “high end” umpires equipment and it is the only umpire’s equipment that has ever been endorsed by Major League Baseball for use by it’s umpires … has made a cameo appearance on the television show “The Oldest Rookie” and was the third base umpire in the spin off of “Police Squad’s” movie “The Naked Gun.”
Singer/songwriter: Nicknamed “Cowboy Joe” for his singing and songwriting, Joe emceed the “Living Legends Golden Tour” at the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in March of 2007. The show included Jan Howard, Freddie Hart, Stonewall Jackson, Jack Greene, Helen Cornelius, and Jim Ed Brown. … a regular performer at “The Nashville Palace”, “The Scoreboard”, and “John A’s” when he’s in Nashville, he also can be found at “Handle Bar J’s” in Scottsdale, Arizona after a Diamondback’s game. He was a regular performer at “Gilley’s” in Pasadena, Texas and after a Cincinnati Reds game he can be found singing with Bobby Mackey’s Band in Wilder, Kentucky. …He’s performed on stage with Mickey Gilley, Johnny Lee, Merle Haggard, Bonnie Owens, T.G. Sheppard, Box Car Willie (for whom he was a pall bearer in 1999), Randy Corner, Jimmie C. Newman, Ron Gaddis, Kent Goodson, Wayne Money, Jon Potter, and Rock ‘N Roll artists, “Skunk” Baxter, Jason Scheff, Rick Seratte, and Les Dudek. …Joe has also performed with world renowned bands such as “The Statesiders”(Mel Tillis’ band),”The Jones Boys” (George Jones’ band), "The Gems” (Jim Ed Brown’s band),”The Red Rose Express’’ and “Urban Cowboy Band”( Mickey Gilley’s band),”The Bayou City Beats”(voted the No. 1 club band in America), "The All Girl Jazz Band Diva," "The Super Grit Cowboy Band,” “The Nashville Now Band,” and he performed at the “Grand Ole Opry” with Charlie McCoy and “The Hee Haw Band.”…. Joe has two albums “Blue Cowboy” and “Diamond Dreams” which are available on this website and he also collaborated with Bill Slayback to record a song about Hall of Fame announcer Ernie Harwell that is still on YouTube… he also performed on an internet sensation with Julie Richardson on “You’re The Reason God Made Oklahoma.” In 2009 Joe was invited to sing on Bucky Pizzarelli’s “Diggin Up Bones.” …. In 2019 Joe opened for Gene Watson at the “Nashville Palace.”
Every now and then you can hear Joe on Prime Country interviewing some of his friends like the Oak Ridge Boys or maybe T.G. Sheppard, Jeannie Sealy, Whispering Bill Anderson, Randy Corner, or Mickey Gilley...