Bob Davidson (umpire)
Robert Allan Davidson
- Height 6' 0", Weight 230 lb.
- School University of Minnesota Duluth
- High School East High School (Duluth)
Bob Davidson played college baseball at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He was a National League umpire from 1982 to 1999. He was one of several umpires who put in their retirement as part of a failed negotiation ploy, not expecting their offer to be accepted. However, the resignations were accepted, and Davidson found himself out of a job for a number of years. He returned to the majors as an ump in 2005, as part of the settlement of that long-festering fiasco. He worked the 1992 World Series and a pair of All-Star Games.
He began his professional umpiring career in the Midwest League in 1974, then moved to the Florida State League in 1975, the Southern League midway through the 1976 season. After the 1977 season, he was promoted to the American Association and stayed there until his promotion to the National League midway through the 1992 season.
On August 23, 1989, he was the umpire for the longest game in the history of the Montreal Expos, in which they faced the Los Angeles Dodgers at Stade Olympique. There were plenty of controversial calls in the game which lasted 22 innings, and manager Tommy Lasorda eventually lost his cool. In the 11th inning, he complained about the supposed racket that Expos mascot Youppi!, clad in pyjamas and a nightcap and sleeping on top of the visitors' dugout, was supposedly making. Davidson accepted Lasorda's arguments and had the furry creature ejected. He was never booed as loudly by fans as what happened that night.
Davidson drew major controversy for his work in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. On March 12th, he overruled another umpire in saying Tsuyoshi Nishioka had left third base early on a would-be sacrifice fly by Akinori Iwamura; video replays did not bear this out and the call helped the United States beat Japan. Four days later, he called a double for Mario Valenzuela when the replays indicated a home run.
On May 18, 2012, he was handed a rare one-game suspension, following a heated argument with Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel on May 15th, which also earned Manuel a one-game suspension. The announcement from the Commissioner's office stated that Davidson had been suspended for "repeated violations of the Office of the Commissioner's standards for situation handling." The two men used very foul language in an argument ensuing when Manuel alleged that Davidson had obstructed catcher Brian Schneider's attempt to recover a dropped third strike, allowing the Houston Astros' Jason Castro to reach base.
On March 31, 2014, Davidson was the first umpire to have one of his calls challenged by a manager under the provisions of the new expanded video review rule. Chicago Cubs manager Rich Renteria asked for a review of Davidson's call of out at first base on Jeff Samardzija, but the video evidence upheld his decision. On August 2, 2016, he made the rare decision (in this day and age) to eject a fan from a game. While it is a relatively common occurrence for fans to be asked asked by security to leave a ball game, either for interfering with play or for inappropriate behavior, it was highly unusual for an umpire to call for time, walk towards the offending patron and ask that he be ejected. The fan had been loudly and repeatedly yelling "You suck" at Davidson, according to witnesses. However, Davidson had done this before, as he had had a fan ejected on September 7, 2010, during a particularly tense game between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals that had resulted in one manager, one coach, one player and that fan being given the heave-ho. Generally, Davidson is known to have a short fuse, as by the end of the 2015 season, he had compiled 165 ejections, according to Retrosheet, and that's not counting any fans.
Davidson retired after the 2016 season.
Davidson was inducted into the UMD Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.