(Photo courtesy of NASO: from left: Gary Darling, Larry Young, Tim Timmons, Lance Barrett, Adam Beck and Alfonso Marquez)

UMPS CARE Charities, the official charity of Major League Baseball (MLB) umpires, today received the 2020-21 Gold Whistle Award, presented by the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO). The award, the highest honor in officiating, originally was scheduled to be presented in 2020 but with the COVID-19 pandemic, it was rescheduled to be presented in 2021.

The VIDEO presentation was made virtually during NASO’s Summit At Home and can be viewed here:
(The UMPS CARE portion begins around the 11:50 mark.)

The Gold Whistle Award was presented in person to UMPS CARE Charities President and retired MLB Umpire Gary Darling in Chicago earlier this summer. In addition to Darling in attendance were NASO President Barry Mano, MLB Umpire Supervisor Larry Young, UMPS CARE Executive Director Jennifer Skolochenko-Platt, Major League Baseball Umpires Tim Timmons, Alfonso Marquez, Lance Barrett and call-up umpire Adam Beck.

“The Gold Whistle Award is presented to someone or some organization that has shined a positive light on sports officiating,” Mano said. “We include in our selection process consideration for how long that positive light has been lit. In the case of UMPS CARE, it has fulfilled both the impact and the longevity components in superb style.”

UMPS CARE provides financial, in-kind and emotional support for America’s youth and families in need. The UMPS CARE vision is embodied in its creed, “Helping Others is an Easy Call.” Through its youth-based programs, UMPS CARE enriches the lives of at-risk youth and children coping with serious illness by providing memorable baseball experiences and supporting pediatric medical care. Its scholarship programs offer financial support to children adopted later in life in order to provide a college education to students who otherwise might not be able to afford one.

UMPS CARE also launched its Official Leadership Program this summer, training teens in underserved communities to be leaders on and off the field.

“We are thrilled, honored and humbled,” UMPS CARE’s Skolochenko-Platt said.  “As the executive director, I am incredibly proud of what the umpires are accomplishing both on and off the field and of the impact we are making as an organization.  Our goal is to continue to grow and increase the number of children and families we assist each year.”

UMPS CARE is beyond thrilled to receive this congratulatory message from Rob Manfred Jr., Commissioner of Major League Baseball: “The dedication that the Major League Umpires deliver to UMPS CARE has impacted thousands of young people and families in need.  It has always been a pleasure to see the organization’s exemplary service to others in the communities of our game.  On behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate the Umpires and the staff of UMPS CARE on this great honor from the National Association of Sports Officials.”

The Gold Whistle Award is presented annually by NASO. Those considered are individuals or groups that have made significant contributions to the betterment of officiating, exhibit a high degree of integrity and ethics and other qualities that are held in high regard by the industry. Candidates must have a consistent record of presenting officiating in a positive light as well as exhibiting a “service above self” attitude. Public service to officiating, having a motivating effect on others and/or strong community involvement are considered.