The Weekly Newspaper of Inglewood
Herald Publications - El Segundo, Hawthorne, Lawndale & Inglewood Community Newspapers Since 1911 - (310) 322-1830 - Vol. 69, No. 46 - November 12, 2020
SoFi Stadium Shows Appreciation for the
Men and Women Who Have Served
We honor all those who served. Thank you to the men and women who have served and are currently serving in our nation’s armed forces. Your courage, dedication and sacrifices are appreciated. Pictured are Veterans who now work for SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park,
Legends and Turner AECOM Hunt Joint Venture. Photo courtesy SoFi Stadium.
Derryl Cousins from front page
the Canadian League, and finished playing
with the Reno Silver Sox, an affiliate of
the Cleveland Indians organization, of the
After his release, Cousins embarked on a
new career, umpiring. He was considered one
of the top umpires at each level. Starting in
the Midwest League in 1973, Cousins worked
his way through the low minors. He and his
umpiring partner, future American League
umpire Vic Voltaggio, were considered the
best among Midwest League umpires. They
repeated that honor with the Carolina League
in 1974. Cousins made his way to the Pacific
Coast League in 1976 and worked three
seasons at the Triple-A level.
Cousins never regretted his decision to get
into umpiring, but he knew it was an uphill
battle to get to the major leagues. “There
is only one out of every 200 who attend
umpiring school who get a job. There are
only 150 jobs in all of minor-league ball,” he
once said. In the late 1970s, he said, “In the
majors, there will only be eight jobs open in
the next eight years as a few umpires reach
He got an unexpected chance to umpire at
the Major League level ahead of schedule.
At the start of the 1979 season, 50 of the
52 American and National League umpires
started the season on strike. Major League
Baseball was forced to find minor-league and
amateur umpires to fill out the ranks. Because
he was considered one of the top umpires in
the minor leagues, Cousins was one of those
minor-leaguer umpires who found himself a
crew chief for the amateur umpires.
Cousins worked his first of 4496 Major
League games on April 6, 1979. “I was on
the plate for a game at Oakland-Alameda
County Stadium. I don’t remember being
intimidated or anything going wrong; I just
remembered thinking, I made it.”
The umpires’ strike was eventually settled,
and Cousins was one of the few minor league
umpires who were given jobs at the Major
League level. It did come with a small price
when the striking umpires turned their backs
on Cousins and the other few umpires. “They
wouldn’t talk to me off the field but were
supportive between the lines, and really that’s
all that mattered,” Cousins once told me.
Cousins was one of the most consistent
ball/ strike umpires over his 34-year career.
He was known as a pitcher’s umpire, probably
because of his experience as a catcher.
His brother Craig said, “If you were a hitter,
you’d better be ready to swing it when Derryl
was behind the plate.”
Cousins had a unique way to bark out a
strike. It was a deep ‘steeeeeerike’ that fans
heard from the second deck of the stadium.
There was no mistaking his call, and it wasn’t
to be noticed but rather to show a strike call
empathically. It was rumored that Leslie
Nielsen’s character in the movie, ‘Naked
Gun’, where Nielsen plays an umpire, during
one scene, used Cousins as his motivation.
Craig shared a story his brother Derryl
told him. “In one of Derryl’s first games,
a veteran star player commented on a pitch
that was called a strike. He said that as long
as he’d been playing, that pitch was never a
strike. Derryl turned to him and said it was
his first day, and that pitch was going to
be a strike from now on, so get used to it.”
Derryl never was intimidated by some of
baseball’s most prominent umpire-hating managers
or team owners. He got into a brief war
of words with New York Yankee team owner
George Steinbrenner. Atlanta Braves manager
Bobby Cox made it easy to eject with his
brash comments that even included bumping
Cousins on one occasion. He thought that New
York Yankee manager Billy Martin went out
of his way to be mean, and Baltimore Orioles
manager Earl Weaver would go nuts for little
or no reason to test the young umpire. Derryl
said that when he finally got to call a game
at Dodger Stadium, with Dodger manager
Tommy Lasorda in charge, it was entertaining
with Lasorda’s colorful language.
Craig said his brother was definitely a
pitcher’s umpire but did get teased about
giving future Hall of Fame third baseman
George Brett the close pitches. “I’m pretty
sure George didn’t need the help,” Craig said.
Cousins was being noticed and began to
be chosen for plum postseason assignments.
Starting in 1985, he worked the American
League Championship Series between the
Royals and Blue Jays. Cousins worked a
total of five Division Series (1997, 1999,
2002, 2005, 2007, seven League Championship
Series 1985,1989,1995,2003 and ‘2006,
three World Series 1988, 1999, 2005 and
three All-Star Games 1987, 1998 and 2008.
Some of the notable games Cousins called
included being home plate umpire for Tom
Seaver’s 300th win at Yankee Stadium. He
was the third-base umpire for game one of
the 1988 World Series when Kirk Gibson hit
his epic pinch-hit home run for the Dodgers.
He was the home plate umpire for the game
between the San Francisco Giants and the
San Diego Padres on August 4, 2007. In the
top of the second inning at San Diego, Barry
Bonds of the Giants hit his 755th career home
run off Clay Hensley, tying Hank Aaron for
first all-time. He was the crew chief for an
exhibition game at the Los Angeles Coliseum
on March 29, 2008, where 115,300 people
saw the Dodgers and Boston Red Sox played
a game celebrating the Dodgers 50th Anniversary
in Los Angeles. He served as the
second base umpire in the final game at the
old Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2008,
and worked the Opening Day game at the new
Yankee Stadium on April 16, 2009. Cousins
was the first base umpire when Oakland
Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden threw the
19th perfect game in MLB history on May
9, 2010. He worked as the third base umpire
when Derek Jeter, of the New York Yankees,
attained his 3000th career hit against the
Tampa Bay Rays. In the 2009 World Baseball
Classic, he was the crew chief for the semifinals
and finals held at Dodger Stadium. In
all Derryl Cousins umpired 4496 MLB games
placing him ninth all-time.
One of Derryl’s sons, Cas, has started his
umpiring career following in his father’s
footsteps. He was an All-South Bay catcher,
All-Pioneer League selection, and led the
Eagles to a first-place finish, all as his dad did.
He started his professional umpiring career a
season ago officiating in the Arizona League.
Derryl Cousins was inducted into the El
Camino Hall of Fame in 2004 and into the El
Segundo High School Hall of Fame in 2011.
He is survived by his brothers Wayne and
Craig, wife Shawna, and five children, including
Cas, Cole, Erica, Jane, and Daryl-Lynn.
A memorial service is planned for next
Derryl Cousins umpired in nearly 5000 Major League Baseball
games. He also was involved in some historical games including
being the crew chief for an exhibition game at the Coliseum that
drew a record 115,300 fans.