Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino: “My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Wally Bell. So sad to hear (and) will remember him tomorrow as I take the field.”
According to Bell’s biography on MLB.com, his proudest moment as a big league umpire was returning to the field after having open heart surgery. Two of his arteries had been 100 percent blocked, two more had been 80 percent blocked, another 70 percent.
“I am deeply saddened and shocked at the loss of umpire Wally Bell,” said Joe Torre, MLB executive vice president for baseball operations. “Umpiring was his life, and he touched so many people within the game of baseball. Aside from being an accomplished, All-Star-caliber umpire, Wally was a loving dad to his two teenage children. I extend my deepest condolences to them, his girlfriend Renee, the rest of his family and his admirers across Major League Baseball.”
During the 2013 regular season, Bell was a member of Tim McClelland’s crew.
“Wally was a great umpire, a great partner and a great friend. The umpiring community is deeply saddened by this tragic loss. He will be sorely missed by many,” said major league ump Joe West, President of the World Umpires Association.
Bell is survived by his son, Jason, and daughter, Lindsey.
AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker contributed to this report.