Phil Cuzzi

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Phil Cuzzi
Phil Cuzzi.jpg
Cuzzi in 2013
Born: (1955-08-29) August 29, 1955 (age 64)
Newark, New Jersey
June 4, 1991
Crew Information
Umpiring crew8
Crew members
Career highlights and awards
Special Assignments

Philip Cuzzi (born August 29, 1955) is an American professional baseball umpire in Major League Baseball (MLB). He worked as a reserve umpire in the National League (NL) from 1991 to 1993 and returned to the NL in 1999. Since 2000, he has worked in both major leagues. Cuzzi wore number 99 when his career started; he now wears number 10.


Minor league umpiring[edit]

Cuzzi appeared in the New York–Penn League, Carolina League, South Atlantic League, Southern League, Triple-A Alliance, International League, American Association, Florida State League, and Eastern League before his promotion to the major leagues.[1]

Major league career[edit]

Cuzzi made his major league debut on June 4, 1991, umpiring at first base in an 11-inning game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers.[2] From 1991 through 1993, Cuzzi umpired a total of 71 National League games.

Cuzzi's umpiring career temporarily came to a halt in 1993. Although he had advanced to Class AAA baseball and served as an MLB reserve umpire, by that year there were no full-time major league slots for Cuzzi and he was released. Cuzzi subsequently worked as a substitute teacher and bartender. While working at a hotel bar in 1996, he had a chance meeting with NL president Len Coleman, who allowed him to resume umpiring if he would work his way back up from the low minor leagues.[3]

In 1999, Cuzzi returned to the NL, working 49 games. Since 2000, when MLB combined umpiring staffs, he has worked games in both leagues. From 2000 through 2015, Cuzzi worked at least 116 games each season. Through the end of the 2016 season, Cuzzi has worked 2,428 major league regular season games, and has issued 78 ejections.

Notable games[edit]

Cuzzi has worked the Wild Card Game in 2013 and the Division Series in 2003, 2004, 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2016. He has umpired in the National League Championship Series in 2005, 2014 and 2019. Cuzzi was also the plate umpire for Game 1 of the 2017 World Series. He also worked the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium and the 2019 All-Star Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland. In Game 1 of the 2015 National League Division Series between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, Cuzzi's wide strike zone was criticized by some Cubs players and media for contributing to their 4–0 loss.[4][5]

Cuzzi has umpired in at least three MLB no-hitters. He was behind the plate for Bud Smith's no-hitter on September 3, 2001,[1] and for Cole Hamels' no-hitter on July 25, 2015.[6] He was the third base umpire when San Francisco Giants pitcher Jonathan Sánchez no-hit the San Diego Padres on July 10, 2009.[7]

Cuzzi was the plate umpire for a game between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays on August 29, 2000.[8] During the game, eight members of the Rays were ejected (seven by Cuzzi), but no Boston players were thrown out, something that reportedly had never happened before.[9]

On April 16, 2009, Cuzzi was the first base umpire for the first game ever at the new Yankee Stadium.[10]

In the top of the 11th inning of game 2 of the 2009 ALDS between the Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees with no one out, Twins catcher Joe Mauer hit a ball that tipped off of left fielder Melky Cabrera's glove, landed fair, and bounced into the stands – Cuzzi called it a foul ball, denying Mauer of a ground rule double.[11] This call proved to be costly as the Twins lost the game 4–3 on a walk-off home run in the bottom half of the inning.[12]

On August 17th, 2019, Cuzzi was umpiring at first base when he ejected Yankees CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner. Prior to Gardner's ejection, Yankees manager Aaron Boone was ejected by home-plate umpire Ben May (umpire). After Boone returned to the dugout, Gardner was seen hitting the top of the Yankees dugout with his bat, an action that had gotten him ejected on August 9th by Chris Segal.[13] In ejecting Gardner, Cuzzi demonstrated the action by Gardner which earned him his ejection, holding a phantom bat and jabbing it against a phantom dugout roof.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Cuzzi lives in New Jersey with his wife, Gilda. He attended Belleville High School, where he played baseball and football.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Umpires: Roster - Phil Cuzzi". Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  2. ^ "St. Louis Cardinals 3, Los Angeles Dodgers 2". Retrosheet. June 4, 1991.
  3. ^ "Ump gets second chance". The Augusta Chronicle. Associated Press. June 11, 1999. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
  4. ^ "Cubs' offense stall in Game 1 loss as wide zone hampers approach - Chicago Cubs Blog - ESPN". Retrieved 2015-10-13.
  5. ^ "Playoff Umps Are Screwing Up A Tenth Of Balls And Strikes". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2015-10-13.
  6. ^ MLB - Boxscore - Phillies v Cubs _ Philly
  7. ^ Sanchez makes most of opportunity, throws no-hitter in front of father Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  8. ^ "Retrosheet Boxscore: Boston Red Sox 8, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 0". Retrieved January 11, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  9. ^ Stark, Jayson. "Brawls, ejections ... and a near no-hitter". Retrieved January 11, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ Yankees open new stadium with blowout loss to Indians Retrieved July 26, 2012
  11. ^ "Phil Cuzzi- Blown Call - 2009 ALDS". Retrieved September 24, 2017 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ "New York Yankees 4, Minnesota Twins 3". Retrosheet. October 9, 2009.
  13. ^ "Brett Gardner mistakenly ejected by umpire after Cameron Maybin and Aaron Boone argued balls and strikes". CBS Sports. Retrieved August 9, 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  14. ^ "Yankees' Brett Gardner has to end his bat antics". New York Post. Retrieved August 17, 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]