In 1996, John Hirschbeck holds a picture of his sons Michael and John taken shortly before John’s death.  (Doug Kapustin, Baltimore Sun photo, 1996)

The second son of major league baseball umpire John Hirschbeck has died. Michael Hirschbeck, 27, died on April 8, 2014, of adrenoleukodystrophy, an inherited condition that affects the nervous system, WFMJ in Youngstown, Ohio, reported.


Leaning down over his 10-year-old son Michael in 1996, John Hirschbeck and his wife, Denise, review schoolwork. (Doug Kapustin, Baltimore Sun photo, 1996) 

Hirschbeck’s oldest son John was 8 years old when he died in 1993 of the same rare degenerative disease. The Hirschbeck family’s struggle with ALD was told in a series of 1996 articles, "The Umpire’s Sons," in The Sun that won a Pulitzer Prize for writer Lisa Pollak. The story was a result of a comment Orioles second baseman Roberto Alomar made to the umpire when he spat on him after a controversial call in 1996.

Click here to read today’s full story about the death of John Hirschbeck’s second son, Michael.

Click here to read the original 1996 article “The Umpire’s Sons,” about John Hirschbeck and his two sons.