David Michael Pallone (born October 5, 1951 in Waltham, Massachusetts) is a former Major League Baseball umpire who worked in the National League from 1979 to 1988. During Pallone's career, he wore uniform number 26.
Pallone umpired his first game at the age of 19 in the New York-Penn League in May 1971. He remained in the league for the 1972 season before being promoted to the Carolina League for the 1973 season. He spent half a season there before again being promoted on June 27 to the Eastern League. He umpired in the EL through the 1975 season, when he was brought up to the International League. Pallone spent the 1976 season in both the International and Eastern Leagues before being called up for good to the IL in 1977. He stayed in the league until 1979, when he was one of eight umpires hired during that year's strike by major league umpires.
Pallone remained in the NL for ten years, and umpired in the 1983 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and the 1987 National League Championship Series. He was the home plate umpire when Pete Rose tied Ty Cobb for the most hits (4192), Nolan Ryan's 4,000th strikeout on July 11, 1985, and on September 25, 1986 he was the second base umpire when Mike Scott of the Houston Astros pitched a 2-0 no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants to clinch the NL West Division championship.
On April 30, 1988, Pallone was involved in a highly controversial confrontation with Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose. Pallone was umpiring at first base in the ninth inning when he called New York Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson safe on a delayed call, with the delay giving Howard Johnson the time to score the eventual game-winning run. Rose immediately rushed to Pallone to argue both the call and how slowly it was made. With both tempers boiling over, Pallone was mocking Rose's gestures by pointing his finger at Rose, which led Rose to (later) accuse Pallone of poking him in the face. Rose then shoved Pallone, causing Rose's immediate ejection, and proceeded to shove him again. Pallone denied touching Rose and Major League Baseball never determined that he did in fact touch Rose. The incident led to fans throwing garbage on the field, temporarily stopping the game and causing Pallone to be taken out of the game to ease tensions. The incident also resulted in Rose being suspended for 30 days with a $10,000 fine as well.
In September of that year, Pallone was forced to resign. He was "outed" in a New York Post article later in the year. Pallone later wrote his autobiography, Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball, about his experiences as a gay man working in baseball. His autobiography became a New York Times best-seller, and he now spends his time working with gay youth, speaking to corporations and athletes with the NCAA about diversity in regard to sexual orientation, and is preparing to launch the Ebook version of Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball.
- Official Dave Pallone Website
- Dave Pallone: The Altercation with Pete Rose, YouTube.com
- Box score of the April 30, 1988 game