NEW YORK (AP) -Umpire Bruce Froemming, who has spent a half-century in pro ball and worked more than 5,000 games in the majors, is getting ready to call it a career.
The 68-year-old Froemming is set to retire at the end of this season. He will be the plate umpire at the All-Star game next month in San Francisco, and Major League Baseball planned to announce it then.
``It's been a long time,'' Froemming said by telephone on his way to Fenway Park for Thursday night's game between Colorado and Boston. ``It's 50 years.''
The Rockies-Red Sox game was the 5,079th of Froemming's major league career. Bill Klem holds the record with 5,368, working from 1905-40.
Froemming began umpiring at age 18 when he went directly from high school to the long-gone Nebraska State League. He became a big league ump in 1971 - Expos-Mets at Shea Stadium was his first game, and it was cut short by snow after five innings.
Over the years, Froemming earned a reputation for being able to control even the most pressure-packed games. He'll be at Yankee Stadium this weekend for Subway Series.
Froemming has worked five World Series, 10 league championship series and a record eight division series. He also did the All-Star game in 1975 and 1986.
``I've obviously worked at this a long time, and every once in a while you think of when it might be time for a change,'' Froemming said.
``I feel great, I love what I do,'' he said. ``And would you believe it, I'm lucky enough to have a ballgame to work tonight.''
In mid-April, Froemming was honored after passing Klem's record for consecutive years of service by an active umpire. Froemming is in his 37th season - Klem became chief of NL umpires in 1941 and worked 11 games as a supervisory fill-in that year.
Froemming set that record during a game in Houston between Florida and the Astros. The game was briefly stopped and he was given a plaque between the fifth and sixth innings.
Last August, Froemming was in Boston for his 5,000th game. There was a video tribute on Fenway's video board in center field and when it was over, he walked to a microphone, thanked the fans and said ``Play Ball!''
Along with his family, Froemming will have someone else waiting for him at home in retirement. There's his dog, with the fitting name for an umpire's best friend - ``Blu.''

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