Pair of veteran Freeport umpires call final little league game

With nearly eight decades of work behind the plate, the duo has experience that’s impossible to replace.
Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 9:01 PM CDT
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FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR) - Two Freeport friends have felt right at home behind the plate for the past 30 years calling little league games. Wednesday evening it came to an end.

“Just being around these kids and the parents and fans has meant a lot,” said John Kreeger, a Freeport Little League umpire.

“If I’m not nervous, I don’t think I’m going to do a good job,” said Ed Bauscher, also a Freeport Little League umpire .

Kreeger and Bauscher are staples at Freeport Little League diamonds, between the two of them there’s 78 years of experience calling balls and strikes.

“Next for me is to be with my grandboys,” Bauscher said.

“It’s a long time coming and it’s kind of emotional,” Kreeger said. “It’s been 32 years and I’ve been a part of Little League here in Freeport.”

Kreeger says he got his start in the league coaching his kids. Once they moved on to new places he wanted to stay on the diamond, and says umpiring was the perfect way to do so.

“Sometimes you know umpires will get haggled or make a bad call and we do but it’s still a wonderful experience overall,” Kreeger said.

Bauscher umpires every age of baseball all the way through high school. He says there are certain things to love about each level of the sport.

“I like meeting the kids,” Bauscher said. “Seeing how they improve from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.”

With nearly eight decades of work behind the plate, the duo has experience that’s impossible to replace.

“I know both of them outside of baseball so it’s just a great couple of guys giving their time to support the little league,” said Joe Luy, President of the Freeport Little League Association.

Kreeger said he will enjoy retirement, but Bauscher says he still plans to umpire games at the higher level, while spending more time with family.

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