As the , one alumnus will be taking his place behind third base.
Ron Kulpa, a 1987 Hazelwood Central graduate, will serve as one of six umpires during the 2011 World Series.
“I think I have the best job in the world, I really do,” he said in a press release. “It feels great to get a chance to umpire in St. Louis. I’m proud to do it, and my family and friends are so proud that I am doing it.”
For Game 1, Kulpa will be the third base umpire, and it will be first time he’s called a baseball game in his hometown as well as his first World Series.
Kulpa, 46, has worked as an umpire in the Major League for the past 12 years. He’s worked in a number of big league events such as the 2001 All-Star game, the 2005 American League Championship series and multiple division series in 2001-2002 and 2006-2009.
Jim Evans, the founder, owner and chief instructor for the Jim Evans Academy for Professional Umpiring in Castle Rock, CO, said that it’s a natural progression for an umpire to go from an All-Star game to serving in the playoffs, a championship series, and ultimately the World Series.
“It’s a well deserved honor,” Evans said. “This is a milestone for any umpire.”
Evans said that as players strive to earn a World Series title, umpires aim to earn a World Series umpire ring.
Hazelwood Central Activities Director John Pukala said he knows Kulpa as an alumnus and through his wife, Sherri, who used to work for the Hazelwood School District.
“He’s gone to the top of the umpiring rank,” Pukala said. “It’s kind of a testament to how good of an umpire he is. Everyone is just really proud of him.”
“I love the game, and I had a chance to be drafted while in college but that didn’t happen,” Kulpa said in the release. “After I wasn’t drafted my dad said, ‘What about umpire school?’ so I went and applied. They accepted me, and I spent six years umping in the minor leagues.”
Kulpa, who lives in the St. Louis area with his wife, will continue to ump throughout the World Series, too.
“After Game 1, I’ll work my way around the field, and I’ll be the home plate umpire for Game 4,” he said.
World Series Games 3, 4 and 5 will take place at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.