Umpire John Hirschbeck's son dies

TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer Published:

CLEVELAND (AP) -- For the second time, veteran major league umpire John Hirschbeck has lost a son.

Michael Hirschbeck died Tuesday of unknown causes in Poland, Ohio. The Indians said he was 27. No other details were immediately available.

John Hirschbeck had been scheduled to work the interleague series between Cleveland and the San Diego Padres, but was with his family.

Indians manager Terry Francona said he was contacted by umpire Bob Davidson and informed of the younger Hirschbeck's passing.

"My heart goes out to that family," Francona said. "I can't even imagine what they're going through. All of our thoughts and prayers are with all of them."

The Indians observed a moment of silence before Tuesday's game for Michael, who worked as a bat boy many times for Cleveland and also at Fenway Park when Francona managed the Red Sox. A photo of a young, smiling Michael, wearing an Indians uniform, was shown on the ballpark's giant scoreboard as the Indians, Padres, Hirschbeck's fellow umpires and the crowd paid their respects.

In 1993, Hirschbeck's 8-year-old son, John Drew, died of a rare brain disease known as adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD).

While he was being treated in a hospital, the family learned that all four Hirschbeck children -- there are two daughters -- suffered from the disease in varying degrees.