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Edward P. Vargo

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VARGO EDWARD P.
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. Involvement in 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 Yankees. 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. Although retired 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, FL. 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 Cemetery, Butler. Additional information can be found and condolence messages placed for the family at: www.geibelfuneralhome.com. 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 www.ticketsforkidsfoundation.org
Send condolences at post-gazette.com/gb

Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Feb. 4, 2008
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