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June 15, 2014

Red Sox' Gregg carries on baseball passion of his strike-calling dad

BOSTON — Kevin Gregg, the media relations director for the Boston Red Sox, lived the same magical childhood that so many sons of major leaguers do.

Gregg was fortunate to travel with his dad during the summer months from ballpark to ballpark. He got to meet his favorite ball player, eight-time All-Star Darryl Strawberry.

But Gregg wasn’t part of the baseball community because his dad played the game, but rather because he umpired it.

“By the time I was 11, I was running around stadiums in Montreal, New York, Atlanta, San Diego, San Francisco all by myself,” Kevin said. “I just wanted to be around the game. Sometimes I didn’t watch the game. I sat in the umpires’ room. Sometimes I sat in the clubhouse, the batting cages. But that (baseball) is all I wanted to do.”

Eric Gregg died of a massive stroke in June 2006 at 55 years old.

Flash forward eight years later. When he travels from ballpark to ballpark with the Red Sox, Kevin still often thinks about his father and recalls special moments they shared.

Most importantly, Kevin, who was 26 when his dad died, still carries on Eric’s love for baseball each day.

“Being with him made me want to have a career in baseball,” Kevin said.

LARGER THAN LIFE UMP

Almost every baseball fan knew of Eric just like almost every football fan nowadays knows NFL referee Ed Hochuli.

Eric worked in the majors from 1975-1999. He umped the 1989 World Series, four championship series, two division series and one All-Star game, according to his Associated Press obituary. He also authored his own autobiography “Working the Plate: The Eric Gregg Story” along with writer Marty Appel.

Eric was so well known because he had an enormous personality, a large strike zone and a massive frame.

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