ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - Former Major League Baseball umpire and Rochester native Ken Kaiser has died at the age of 72.
Kaiser was an umpire for 36 years, including 23 in the major leagues from 1977 to 1999. He worked two World Series and an All-Star game during his tenure.
In '99, Kaiser and several other umpires resigned as a labor negotiation tactic. It failed. He was never hired again.
Kaiser spent two years moonlighting as a pro wrestler before he made it to the big leagues. He also wrote a book called "Planet of the Umps" three years after he left baseball.
In Rochester, Kaiser hosted a charity baseball dinner during the 80's and 90's that regularly attracted many of the game's top stars and benefited St. Joseph's Villa.
His personality is what most remember today. In 1986, he was voted the game's most colorful umpire in a poll conducted by The Sporting News.
"He was a character of the game," said Red Wings general manager Dan Mason. "Baseball is a great game for a lot of reasons, but a lot of it is because of unique personalities. I think Ken brought some flair to the umpiring job and he was also a guy with a huge heart."
Calling hours and funeral plans have not yet been announced.
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