Welcome to Better Know An Umpire, an effort to educate ourselves on the human elements who have ultimate decision-making power over some 2,500 Major League Baseball games a year. (All cumulative statistics are through the 2011 season, unless otherwise stated.)
Name: Jeff Nelson
Uniform number: 45
Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 196 pounds
First year as MLB umpire: 1997
Total MLB games worked through 2011: 1,784 (home plate: 445)
Previous experience: Pioneer League, Arizona Instructional League, Florida State League, Eastern League, American Association, Pacific Coast League, Florida State Instructional League, Arizona Fall League
Career ejections: 37
No-hitters called: None
Over/under record (1999-2011): 192-210
Hated in: Baltimore, Detroit, DC, Boston
Claim to fame: Missed almost three months of the 2007 season after being diagnosed with testicular cancer, but returned to call a Twins game in late August.
Scouting report from Major League Umpires' Performance, 2007-2010, by Andy Goldblatt:
Nelson went over to the hitters' side in 2009. ... His his 2009 numbers been at all consistent with the other three seasons, his R/9 would be the lowest of all umpires ... Nelson has an average fuse, compiling a career ejection rate of two percent.
Scouting report from angry Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine:
Guys battled their butts off, that's all I know. That's a damn shame. Fucking umpire can't make a right call and get help to get it done. It's a damn shame is what it is. Be stubborn. It's not his job to call the frigging play. Just get help. It's a damn shame is what that is. It's a damn shame.
Average K/9 (2011): 15.7
Average BB/9 (2011): 6.1
On umpiring: "My skill is balls and strikes, safes and outs. I enjoy the challenge of competing against perfection."
Strike 3 call:
To check out other installments of Better Know An Umpire, click here.