Hall of Fame umpire Bob Klingenfus threw out the first pitch of the Cowboy Up Tournament taking place at the Kino Sports Complex. Klingenfus retired after 58 years on the job.
FROM THE PIMA COUNTY HALL OF FAME
Bob has been a baseball umpire, at all levels, since 1963. In his 50 years he has worked over 300 Western Athletic Conference plus PAC 10 & Pac 12 games highlighted by over 80 Arizona /ASU games, a WAC play-off in 1969, NCAA Regionals in 1973 & 1974 (where the winners went to Omaha), over 200 spring training games (including full schedules when the umpires were on strike), and three exhibition games between the Tucson Toros (AAA) and a major league team. He has also worked over 300 Junior College games, over 1,500 high school games, over 800 American Legion games and over 2,000 summer league games.
He also worked as a basketball official until the mid 1970’s when the early start of the baseball season caused too many scheduling problems and he chose to concentrate on baseball umpiring.
In his playing days in high school, he was the catcher on the New Athens, Illinois team that became # 2 in the state. Illinois did not have classifications so his 120 student enrollment school advanced to the state championship game after upsetting four “large” schools.
While playing amateur baseball in 1951, Bob had a personal tryout in Wrigley Field (Chicago) where he was offered a AAA contract and a bonus but decided to stay in college. Bob attended Western Michigan University on a baseball scholarship and he played in the College World Series (Omaha) as a catcher for Western Michigan in 1952.
Bob also coached high school and American Legion baseball and umpired semi-pro baseball.
Bob Klingenfus played the College World Series, umpired all those standing room only @ArizonaBaseball & ASU games in the 70s & he umpired Ron Hassey in jr high, high school, Arizona and the pros. Plus over 1,500 high school games behind the plate. True legend. https://t.co/LdgStaqH0S pic.twitter.com/PlCdO16cR3
— Andy Morales (@AndyMorales8) February 23, 2022
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee and he earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater. Contact Andy Morales at email@example.com