Eric Richard Cooper (born December 18, 1966) is an American professional baseball umpire. He has worked throughout Major League Baseball (MLB) since 1999. Cooper wears number 56. He has umpired in nine Division Series, four League Championship Series, three Wild Card Games, one All-Star Game, one World Series, and two World Baseball Classics.
Cooper in 2007
|Born: December 18, 1966|
Des Moines, Iowa
|June 17, 1996|
|Career highlights and awards|
After college, Cooper attended the Joe Brinkman Umpire School, and spent several years as a minor league umpire. He appeared in the Appalachian League (1990), Midwest League (1991), Florida State League (1992), Eastern League (1993-94), American Association (1995–97) and Pacific Coast League (1998).
Cooper has consistently worn number 56 as an umpire. He worked the Division Series (2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014), the League Championship Series (2004, 2015, 2016, 2017), the Major League Baseball Wild Card Game (2015 and 2016, 2017), the 2014 World Series, and the 2005 All-Star Game. Cooper also worked the World Baseball Classic in 2009 and 2013.
Cooper was the home plate umpire for Hideo Nomo's no-hitter in 2001, and for Mark Buehrle's no-hitter against the Texas Rangers on April 18, 2007. He was also behind the plate for Buehrle's subsequent perfect game thrown in 2009. Cooper joined Ed Vargo as umpires who had called balls and strikes for two no-hitters by the same pitcher. Eric is one of only eight active major league umpires who have worked behind the plate for multiple no-hitters; the others are Jeff Kellogg, Ed Hickox, Ted Barrett, Adrian Johnson, Ron Kulpa, Brian Knight, and Greg Gibson.
Cooper was the third base umpire in the last game played at the old Yankee Stadium.
He was also the plate umpire for the September 2008 game in which Francisco Rodriguez tied the major league single-season save record. Cooper was struck by a foul ball during the game, but was able to continue after a brief pause. Rodriguez would break the record before the end of the season.
- Pradhan, Shagun (October 18, 2011). "ISU graduate makes his way to Major League umpiring". Iowa State Daily. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
- MLB. "Eric Cooper". Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- Buehrle hurls no-hitter to lead ChiSox over Rangers ESPN.com. Retrieved July 30, 2012
- "Rodriguez ties saves record in win over Mariners". Associated Press. September 11, 2008. Archived from the original on December 20, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
- Spencer, Lyle; Michael Schwartz (September 14, 2008). "K-Rod nabs single-season saves mark". MLB.com. Retrieved March 9, 2013.