OXNARD, Calif. -- The California League, the only league in Minor League Baseball to honor an umpire, presented its Umpire of the Year award to Chris Gonzalez before Game 1 of the mini-series between San Jose and Modesto.
The Doug Harvey Award, named after the 2010 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and resident of nearby Visalia, was
instituted as an annual award in 2010 and given to the Cal League Umpire of the Year.
In a pregame ceremony on Wednesday night, Cal League president Charlie Blaney presented the award to Gonzalez, a Campbell, Calif., native. The 29-year-old is in his fourth season as a Minor League umpire and has been promoted each year since 2010. He started the year in the Cal League and
was promoted to Double-A in August.
"Congratulations to Chris Gonzalez for being the third recipient of the Doug Harvey Award," Blaney said. "Chris has a bright future as an umpire and continues to impress day in and day out with his hard work and natural talent. The Cal League sincerely thanks Doug Harvey for lending his name once again to this prestigious award."
Gonzalez was the top vote-getter as voted on by Cal League managers who know and work with the umpires more than anyone else.
Harvey was a Major League umpire for 30 years and worked five World Series, six All-Star Games and nine National
League Championship Series. He was nicknamed "God" by players because of his strict focus on the rules of the
game. Harvey was ranked as the second-greatest umpire in history, according to the Society for American Baseball
Research, behind only Bill Klem.
In 2007, Referee magazine selected him as one of the 52 most influential figures in the history of sports officiating. He began his professional career in the Cal League in 1958 and umpired there through the 1960 season before moving up to Triple-A.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.