Eric Cooper, Umpire in Yankees-Twins Series, Dies at 52


Eric Cooper, a veteran Major League Baseball umpire who worked the American League Division Series between the Yankees and the Minnesota Twins just two weeks ago, has died in Iowa. He was 52.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said on Sunday that Cooper died after having a blood clot. He had had knee surgery earlier in the week and was recuperating at his father’s home in Iowa. On Saturday he was talking to fellow umpires about his recovery.

Cooper made his debut in the majors in 1996 as a minor league fill-in and joined the big league umpiring staff in 1999. His most recent assignment was at second base for Game 3 of the A.L. division series at Target Field in Minneapolis on Oct. 7, when the Yankees completed their sweep of the Twins.

Cooper worked the 2014 World Series between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants. He drew that assignment in part because of his success rate on replay challenges; M.L.B. took those numbers into account in picking the crew, and Cooper had only three calls reversed all season.

He umpired in 10 division series, four League Championship Series and the 2005 All-Star Game, along with two World Baseball Classics. He was behind the plate for three no-hitters — two by Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox, in 2007 and 2009, the second one a perfect game, and another by Hideo Nomo, in 2001, when he was with the Boston Red Sox. Cooper also worked the plate in Cal Ripken Jr.’s celebrated final game, on Oct. 6, 2001.

Eric Richard Cooper was born in Iowa on Dec. 18, 1966, and played baseball throughout high school. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1989 after majoring in transportation logistics. He had been a board member of Mentor Iowa, an organization that helps abused and neglected children.

He and his wife, Tara, had two children, Chaz and Colt, according to a biographical sketch on the M.L.B. website. Complete information on his survivors was not available.

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