Phil Cuzzi

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10 – Phil Cuzzi
Phil Cuzzi.jpg
Cuzzi in 2013
Born (1955-08-29) August 29, 1955 (age 60)
Newark, New Jersey
MLB debut June 4, 1991
Umpiring crew
Crew members
Career highlights and awards

Philip Cuzzi (born August 29, 1955) is an American professional baseball umpire. He worked as a reserve umpire in the National League from 1991 to 1993 and returned to the NL in 1999. Since 2000, he has worked throughout both major leagues. Cuzzi wore number 99 when his career started; now he wears number 10. As of 2015, Cuzzi's fellow crew members are Gerry Davis (crew chief), Tony Randazzo, and Will Little. Cuzzi has worked five Division Series, two League Championship Series, one All-Star Game, and one Wild Card Game.


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 full-time promotion to the major leagues in 1999.[1]

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.[2]

Major league career[edit]

Cuzzi has worked the Wild Card Game in 2013 and the Division Series in 2003, 2004, 2009, 2012, and 2015. He has umpired in the National League Championship Series in 2005 and 2014. He also worked the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium in 2008.


Cuzzi ejected St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and outfielder Jim Edmonds from Game 4 of the 2005 NLCS.[3]

In Game 2 of the 2009 ALDS between the Yankees and Twins, Cuzzi made a controversial call on a ball that Joe Mauer hit near the foul line. With Melky Cabrera charging toward the line from left field, the ball tipped Cabrera's glove, landed in fair territory, then bounced into the stands. Cuzzi called the ball foul. After the game, writer Jeff Passan used the call to advocate for broader use of instant replay in Major League Baseball.[4]

In an interleague game on July 2, 2011, Cuzzi issued a walk to Cameron Maybin of the Padres after only three balls. Maybin later scored the only run in a 1–0 Padres win.[5]

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.[6][7]

Notable games[edit]

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, but no Boston players were thrown out, something that reportedly had never happened before.[9]

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.[10] He was the third base umpire when San Francisco Giants pitcher Jonathan Sánchez no-hit the San Diego Padres on July 10, 2009.[11]

On April 16, 2009, Cuzzi was the first base umpire for the first game ever at the new Yankee Stadium.[12]


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. ^ "Ump gets second chance". The Augusta Chronicle (Associated Press). June 11, 1999. Retrieved July 27, 2012. 
  3. ^ Astronomical 4-6-3 = 3-1 lead Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  4. ^ Passan, Jeff (October 10, 2009). "Another call for instant replay". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  5. ^ Luebke sharp as Padres blank M's |
  6. ^ "Cubs' offense stall in Game 1 loss as wide zone hampers approach - Chicago Cubs Blog - ESPN". Retrieved 2015-10-13. 
  7. ^ "Playoff Umps Are Screwing Up A Tenth Of Balls And Strikes". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2015-10-13. 
  8. ^ "Retrosheet Boxscore: Boston Red Sox 8, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 0". Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  9. ^ Stark, Jayson. "Brawls, ejections ... and a near no-hitter". Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  10. ^ MLB - Boxscore - Phillies v Cubs _ Philly
  11. ^ Sanchez makes most of opportunity, throws no-hitter in front of father Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  12. ^ Yankees open new stadium with blowout loss to Indians Retrieved July 26, 2012

External links[edit]