Ed Vargo Dies
Monday, February 04, 2008
Edward P. Vargo,
79, of Butler, died Saturday afternoon,
February 2, 2008, peacefully at his home.
Born in Butler,
Pennsylvania in 1928, Ed was the youngest
son of Alex and Mary Vargo.
the fame of baseball came at an early age as one of his first jobs as
a kid was that of batboy/ equipment manager for the Butler Yankees who
were at the time a formidable farm-league extension of the New York
In 1948, after a brief stint as a catcher in the St. Louis
Cardinal's minor league system, he was called to serve his
country and spent the next five years in the U.S. Army.
Baseball followed him into the service as he managed a team at Virginia's
For Belvoir, to the base championship in 1952. During his service hitch,
he discovered a talent for working home plate as an umpire. After an
honorable discharge, Ed worked the minors as an empire, refining his
game from 1954 until his National League breakthrough year of 1960.
From 1960 through his final season in 1983, Ed called balls and strikes
during a truly memorable era in the sport. Among the standouts in the
profession when Vargo arrived, current Hall of Fame members Al Barlick
and "Jocko" Conlon commented that he was the best young umpire
to come up to the "big leagues" at that time and an "outstanding
ball and strike man." His colorful insight, consistent appraisal
of the pitch and love of baseball served the game well.
As a life-long
member of the Butler area community, Ed
spent his time in the off-season, working with the Butler
Area School District in the capacity of a home and school
visitor. In this particular role, Ed spent countless numbers of hours
helping students and families in need.
after 1983, Ed Vargo continued to remain
part of the game as an umpire supervisor from 1984 through the 1986
season. With the installation of A. Bartlett Giamatti as the Commissioner
of Baseball in 1987, Ed became the supervisor of umpires for the National
League. He would hold this post with distinction until his retirement
from baseball in 1997.
From 1954 until
1959 Ed was a Minor League Umpire in the
Georgia-Florida League, the Piedmont League, the Eastern
League and the International League. From 1960 until 1983
he was a National League Umpire. and had four World Series appearances:
1965, 1971, 1978 & 1983. In 1971, he was the home plate umpire for
the first World Series night game; four National League Championship
Series appearances; four All-Star Game appearances; called three "No-
Hitter" games including Sandy Koufax's perfect game and was Crew
Chief from 1971 until 1983. From 1984 to 1986 he was the Umpire Supervisor
under the direction of Charles "Chub" Feeney; from 1987 to
1997 he was the Supervisor of National League Umpires; from 1989 to
1997 he was the Consultant to the Rules Committee of Major League Baseball.
In 1966 Ed was
the first inductee into the Butler County Sports Hall of Fame and in
1994 he was inducted into the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Edward is survived
by his loving wife of 45 years, Elizabeth
Hunter Vargo, they had married February 9, 1963; two
daughters: Karen McClarnon (Bill McClarnon), Vandergrift
and Kristin Wissinger (Darrin Wissinger), Cecil Township; 2 sons: Edward
A. (Ellen Rosenthal Vargo), O'Hara Twp. and David A. Vargo, Butler;
8 grandchildren: Ryan E., Jacob A., Zachary W. and William H. McClarnon,
Ashley B. and Hayden Wissinger, Alexander and Daniel Vargo; a brother
Robert Vargo, Aliquippa; a sister Elizabeth Keller, Fort Lauderdale,
Friends and family
of Edward P. Vargo will be received at
the GEIBEL FUNERAL HOME, 201 East Cunningham
Street, Butler from 2-4 & 7-9 PM Tuesday. A Mass of
Christian Burial will be celebrated at 12:00 Noon, Wednesday, February
6, 2008 at St. Peter Catholic Church, 127 Franklin St., Butler. The
Rev. Pierre Falkenhan, Pastor, will officiate.
Interment will follow at Butler County Memorial Park
can be found and condolence
messages placed for the family at:
In lieu of flowers,
memorial contributions may be made in
Mr. Vargo's name to the following organizations: VNA
Hospice of Western Pennsylvania, 154 Hindman Road,
Butler, PA 16001. Tickets for Kids Charity, 139 Freeport
Road, Suite 100, Pittsburgh, PA 15215. or