MLB Umpire Bob Engel Arrested For Stealing Baseball Cards From Target: This Day in Sports History

Stephen Douglas
New York Mets v Pittsburgh Pirates
New York Mets v Pittsburgh Pirates / George Gojkovich/Getty Images
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Bob Engel was arrested on April 21, 1990, when he got caught stealing. Not by one of his contemporaries, but by security at Target in Bakersfield, California. Engel would eventually plead no contest after being accused with stealing seven boxes of Score baseball cards from Target and attempting to take another 50 packs of cards from Costco in a separate incident earlier in the year. The total value of the cards was less than $200.

Engel was a 35-season veteran umpire in the National League. During his career he became president of the MLB umpires union and worked three World Series. His umpire origin story was recorded in his own words in a short Sports Illustrated profile in 1987. From the SI Vault:

"Engel got his first glimpse of an umpire's life when, as a schoolboy in Bakersfield, he took a job as a bellhop in a hotel. He liked what he saw. "I noticed the umpires were out late every night, chasing girls and not getting up until one o'clock in the afternoon," he says. "

In that same piece, Engel says he has little time for umpires "who go in for hotdogging." Here are some clips of Engel that have survived to make it to YouTube.

Engel died in March 2018 at 84 years-old.

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