WXXI AM News

Baseball umpire and Rochester native Ken Kaiser has died

Aug 9, 2017

A well known figure in umpire circles in Major League baseball as well as his hometown of Rochester has died. According to the D&C, Ken Kaiser has died at the age of 72.

The Gates-Chili alum was a major league umpire for 23 years. He worked two World Series, and all-star game and several playoff games.

He started out umpiring in the minor leagues, and Rochester Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason got to chat with Kaiser after he left baseball. He says Kaiser was a colorful character.

“You ask former major league guys, former major league players that come to town here if they remember him, everybody remembers Kenny because of the way that he umpired the game either on the bases or behind home plate," Mason told WXXI news.

Kaiser wrote a memoir in 2003 called "Planet of the Umps: A Baseball Life from Behind the Plate,” recounting his years in baseball.

In an interview he did on NPR’s Fresh Air show when the book came out, Kaiser talked about reasons for throwing a manager out of the game. Sometimes, he says, it was at the request of the manager himself.

“I’ve had managers come up to me and say Kenny, hey, things just aren’t going good here , you’ve got to toss me tonight , and if I know the guy well, I’ll try and oblige him, try and help him out, because they think for some reason that sets a fire underneath these players, but as far as I’m concerned all it does is make them laugh."

Mason says Kaiser will also be remembered for charitable work he did in Rochester for St. Joseph’s Villa.