As a Major League Baseball umpire, John Tumpane hears either cheers or boos depending on what call he makes on the field, but off the field, everyone is applauding his latest decision.
While walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh, Tumpane noticed a woman climb over the railing.
“Obviously, that grabbed my attention,” Tumpane told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I asked a couple in front of me, ‘What’s this lady trying to do?’ and they said, ‘I don’t know.’ ”
Tumpane was scheduled to umpire the Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays contest at PNC Park later that evening and could have easily continued along. Instead, the 34-year-old decided to approach the woman to see if he could help. The following is his recount of the situation, which he told the newspaper.
“I just wanted to get a better look of the city from this side,” she replied, according to the umpire’s recollection.
“Oh no,” Tumpane said, hooking his arm around hers. “You don’t want to do that. It’s just as good over here. Let’s go grab some lunch and talk.”
“No, no, no,” she answered. “I’m better off on this side. Just let me go.”
“I’m not going to let you go,” he said. “Let’s talk this out. We’ll get you back over here.”
“No one wants to help me,” she repeated. “Just let me go.”
“No, we’re here to help you.”
“You’ll forget me tomorrow.”
“I’ll never forget you,” he said. “You can have my promise on that.”
Tumpane was able to alert a passer-by to call 911 and received assistance from two other bystanders until emergency personnel arrived and lifted her over the railing to safety. Before she was taken to the hospital, Tumpane had a message for the woman.
“I told her, ‘I didn’t forget her, and we’d be here, and she’s better off on this side than the other side.’ ” he recalled. “I just want her to know that.”
One of the bystanders who assisted Tumpane sent an email to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, praising the umpire as “an absolute hero.” Post-Gazette writer Steven Nesbitt shared the kind words on his Twitter.
Check out this note from Chris, who also helped the woman on the Clemente Bridge. John Tumpane gave him a game ball. https://t.co/pZzAa2hU4d pic.twitter.com/MZlSzyAtlv
— Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) June 29, 2017
Tumpane’s heroic deeds followed a rough outing in Kansas City on Sunday, June 25.
Per GameDay, home plate umpire John Tumpane missed 15 strikes today while Royals pitchers were on the mound. Fifteen. Wow.
— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) June 26, 2017
Once the story went viral, he received nothing but praise across Twitter from those individuals who cover the game on a daily basis.
This is an amazing story involving John Tumpane, the ump who drew the ire of the Royals on Sunday. https://t.co/nxxcJpnhh8
— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) June 29, 2017
You’re a hero, John Tumpane:https://t.co/xI5yvsyxpw
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) June 29, 2017
This is amazing: A woman was ready to jump off a bridge near PNC Park. The guy who saved her — tonight’s ump. https://t.co/trEtRHhP8O
— Sean Gentille (@seangentille) June 29, 2017
Umpire John Tumpane helped save a woman’s life today, preventing her from jumping from the Clemente Bridge. Incredible story. A true hero. pic.twitter.com/M2OlMYRtGQ
— Greg Brown (@gbrowniepoints) June 29, 2017
Don’t boo HP umpire John Tumpane @Pirates game tonight. He helped save a woman’s life today. @PittsburghPG https://t.co/4q3rd2TW3t pic.twitter.com/nxBVNAECrI
— Matt Freed (@mattfreedpghpg) June 29, 2017
God bless John Tumpane. Worth a read. Never underestimate the power of paying attention to someone. https://t.co/B0UXwznufr
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) June 29, 2017
Ever the humble person, Tumpane deflected the attention away from himself and toward the woman whose life he saved.
“This isn’t about me…I appreciate this opportunity but, ya know, this is just for her and the people that care about her,” he said during a press conference.
Tumpane made it to the park on time and umpired the Pirates-Rays game. It’s safe to say, he’s never had (nor will he ever have) another game day experience quite like this.
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(Photo Credit: Twitter)