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News Release, St. Mary’s College of Maryland Athletic Department
ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. – St. Mary’s College of Maryland alum Chris Segal was recently informed that he was promoted to a full-time position as an umpire in Major League Baseball (MLB). Segal, class of 2005, has served as a part-time MLB umpire since 2014 but will transition to a full-time umpire for the 2020-21 season.
“I honestly was not surprised to learn that Chris made it to the big leagues as a full-time umpire,” Director of Athletics and Recreation Scott Devine said. “In such a tough business where less than 100 people in the country get to do the job of umpiring at the highest level, I am guessing that it ultimately was his competitiveness, his passion for the game, and his deep knowledge of baseball which allowed Chris to separate himself from others and to earn the full-time assignment.”
During his time as a Seahawk, Segal played catcher and outfield as a member of the St. Mary’s College of Maryland baseball team. He earned numerous awards throughout his career including the Capital Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year, the Coaches’ Award, and the St. Mary’s College Athletic Director’s Award. When not busy with baseball and his academics, Segal began his umpiring career through his college years working various games in northern Virginia and St. Mary’s County.
“St. Mary’s set me up in a really good position to basically do anything I wanted to do,” explained Segal. “No one really thought I’d become a professional umpire. It’s cool because a lot of the guys from St. Mary’s have stayed in touch with me over the years and they’ve been some of my biggest supporters. Lew Jenkins (former Head Baseball Coach) and Scott Devine have been great as far as staying in touch.”
Following graduation, Segal wasted little time to start his career and quickly enrolled in the Jim Evans Academy for Professional Umpiring in 2006. The academy, which Segal jokingly called a “glorified American Idol”, accepts 100-150 candidates that compete for 25 spots. From there, 50 candidates are placed in a one-week evaluation course and are ranked. Candidates who graduate from the academy start out at the lower levels of the minor league system, working their way up from Low-A to Triple-A.
Segal ascended to the Triple-A level and started to get evaluated by major league supervisors. Next, Segal was invited to umpire the Arizona Fall League and eventually was invited to work Spring Training in 2012. Segal caught the attention of major league supervisors and was assigned a major league number in 2014, which is essentially a spot to work major league games, as a call-up umpire. As a call up umpire, Segal was tasked with filling in for major league umpires when they’re on vacation, hurt, sick or have to step away for personal reasons. Segal worked his first major league game as a call-up umpire on April 14, 2014, in Anaheim, California.
“I’ve met a lot of good people and have had countless great experiences as an umpire,” stated Segal. “The profession has given me tons of opportunities to see parts of the country I’ve never seen so that’s a really cool part about umpiring. I also had the opportunity to umpire in the Dominican Republic for three months which was another awesome experience.”
Six years later, a full-time major league umpiring position opened up and Segal was awarded the major league number from a callup list of 15 candidates, becoming one of 76 big league umpires. As a full-time MLB umpire, Segal is assigned a crew that will travel all over the country to work games. Segal and his crew will work approximately 120 games in the upcoming season.
“I’m really enjoying the way this has worked out,” Segal said. “There are only 76 of us in the big leagues so it’s a low percentage of guys who get this job. I’ve been very fortunate.”
Devine concluded his thoughts by emphasizing: “Speaking for the entire Seahawk alumni base and the St. Mary’s College of Maryland community, we are all very proud of Chris and the unique career path he has carved out. I know that Coach Jenkins and Chris have maintained a great relationship over the years and that Lew has been a positive force and mentor for Chris. These life long relationships are what we value so much in college athletics, and these are the things that make our jobs so special. I wish Chris all the best this upcoming season, and I will look forward to seeing him working at many major league ballparks throughout the summer!”