Edward Paul Vargo
listed as Edward A. Vargo in his obituary
- Bats Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 180 lb.
Ed Vargo was a long-time major league umpire and umpire supervisor.
Vargo's association with baseball began when he was a batboy for the Butler Yankees in his hometwon of Butler, PA. His baseball career began as a minor league catcher with the 1947 Carthage Cardinals, hitting .143 with 5 RBI. He broke his hand at Carthage of the KOM League and after rehabilitation was sent to the St. Joseph Cardinals of the Western Association, although he never appeared in a game with St. Joe. He then entered the Army. While in the military, he guided a team at Fort Belvoir, Virginia to the fort's championship. He also began umpiring while in the service. He was honorably discharged from the Army.
Vargo was an umpire in the Georgia-Florida League (1953-1954), Piedmont League (1955), Georgia-Florida League again (1956), Eastern League (1957), and International League (July, 1957-1959). He was then a National League umpire from 1960 to 1983. He was an umpire supervisor from 1984 to 1997.
Vargo worked the first night game in World Series history in 1971, two of Sandy Koufax's no-hitters, the last games at Forbes Field and the Polo Grounds, four All-Star Games, four National League Championship Series, four World Series, the first game at Candlestick Park and the game in which Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth's career home run record.
Milt May said "You liked [Vargo]...as a pitcher or a hitter because he was fair." Steve Blass said "He knew the strike zone better than most pitchers" and said he ran ballgames the way they should be run. Vargo was known for his consistent strike zone and ability to call balls and strikes properly.
Vargo was inducted into the Butler County Sports Hall of Fame in 1966 and the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame 1994.
Vargo worked with needy families and students in the Butler schools.
He died of congestive heart failure at home in 2008. Some older sources, including his obituary, list a 1930 birth date for him, but it seems that he was actually two years older, being born in 1928; as many players of his day, he shaved a couple of years off his age in order to sign a pro contract.
- Paul Meyer: "Former big league umpire, lifelong resident of Butler", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 5, 2008.