MLB umpire John Tumpane saved a young woman’s life on Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh. Here’s what he had to say about the harrowing ordeal:
Tumpane could have done anything. He could have kept going about his business, had lunch and prepared for the evening’s baseball game. He could have left the situation for someone else to handle.
Surely, he wasn’t the only one who saw the woman climbing over the bridge’s railing. Besides, he an umpire, not a crisis counselor, police officer or firefighter. He had a game to prepare for. No one would have blamed him for minding his own business.
His humanity wouldn’t let him, though. The spirit of the man whose name is on the bridge in question, Roberto Clemente, wouldn’t let him. Clemente died in a plane crash while taking earthquake relief supplies to his native Nicaragua in 1972.
MLB’s Sportsmanship Award is named in Clemente’s honor. The bridge is built with steel, but the strength of Clemente’s character holds it up. John Tumpane has that same strength.
The picture above of Tumpane holding the young woman’s arm and tending to her shows what we can be when we allow our common humanity to guide us. He comforted her the way he would his own sister. By the way, she is a sister (I’ll let that one marinate for the uninitiated).
Tumpane did not know her name, background or what circumstances led her to the Roberto Clemente Bridge. He just knew she was better off on the dry side of the rail. A man who gets dirt kicked on him during games took time to dust someone else off.
Tumpane told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “You never know what somebody’s day looks like. It’s a nice day, everyone’s out for a walk, and somebody’s not having the same day you’re having. I was just glad to help.”
And they say umpires are blind…