Steve Palermo, a major-league baseball umpire whose career ended when he was shot trying to break up a robbery in 1991, died May 14 at a hospital in Overland Park, Kan. He was 67.
Major League Baseball announced his death. The cause was cancer.
Mr. Palermo became a major-league umpire in 1976 and worked in several postseason playoffs, including the 1983 World Series. He was one of the top-rated umpires in the sport.
His on-field career ended on July 7, 1991, when he was shot in the back while coming to the aid of a robbery victim in the parking lot of a Dallas restaurant.
Two waitresses were being mugged across the street. Mr. Palermo and two friends rushed to assist them, and he chased one mugger on foot. Other muggers fled in a car, then returned to the scene, shooting Mr. Palmero and his friends.
Mr. Palmero was struck by a bullet that damaged his spinal cord. Doctors told him he wouldn’t walk again. (The assailant was sentenced to 75 years in prison.)
Mr. Palermo’s umpiring career was over, but he recovered through rehabilitation, eventually walking with the use of a cane. He threw out the first pitch of Game 1 of the 1991 World Series and remained active in baseball.
Mr. Palermo was hired as a special assistant to the chairman of the Major League Executive Council in 1994, then became an umpire supervisor for Major League Baseball in 2000, serving as a liaison between the umpires and the commissioner.
Stephen Michael Palermo was born Oct. 9, 1949, in Worcester, Mass. He was an umpire in amateur baseball leagues while attending college. He later joined Major League Baseball’s umpire training program.
Mr. Palermo was recognized at the 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City, Mo., his adopted home town, and walked out with the umpiring crew for the presentation of the lineups.
“I was determined to get back as much of my health as possible,” he told the Kansas City Star before the All-Star Game. “That’s important. To be determined and have determination.”
He settled in Leawood, Kan., with his second wife, the former Debbie Aaron.
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