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Eric Cooper, MLB Umpire for 21 Years, Dies at 52

MLB Umpire Eric Cooper Dies at 52

Major League umpire Eric Cooper has died at the age of 52, the league announced on Sunday.

"This is a very sad day across Major League Baseball," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "Eric Cooper was a highly respected umpire, a hard worker on the field and a popular member of our staff. He also served as a key voice of the MLB Umpires Association on important issues in our game. Eric was a consistent presence in the Postseason throughout his career, including in this year's Division Series between the Yankees and the Twins. He was known for his professionalism and his enthusiasm, including for our international events.

"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Eric's family, friends and all of his fellow Major League Umpires," he added. "We will honor Eric's memory during the World Series. Eric will be missed by the entire Baseball family."

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A native of Iowa, Cooper became an MLB umpire in 1999 after spending nine years umpiring in the minors. He spent 21 years in the Majors, including this season, and most recently worked the ALDS between the Yankees and Twins.

Cooper worked behind the plate for three no-hitters in his career, two from Mark Buehrle and one from Hideo Nomo. 

In the playoffs, Cooper worked three Wild Card Games, 10 Division Series, four League Championship Series and the 2014 World Series. He was also an umpire during the 2005 All-Star Game in Detroit.