Year Inducted – 1983

Colorful sports figures like George Popp are welcomed anywhere they travel. And in George’s case, his career has seen a lot of traveling– as one of the best baseball umpires to ever come out of the Akron area. In the early years, Popp sparkled in baseball, track and football at Akron’s Garfield High and got his first taste of A League Ball for Michael A.C. However, umpiring is Popp’s claim to fame. He says he got into the profession by accident. Evidently he and lifelong friend, Hermie Ziruolo, took a wrong turn when they ended up at McGowan’s Umpiring School in Florida. George was appointed to the Tobacco State League, but eventually rose through the ranks to be the best in the Southern League–one step below the majors. In 1956 he became the first pro umpire to strike for better wages and returned to Akron to take up officiating on the local level. His career has been highlighted with a thousand zany stories, no doubt precipitated by his flair for showmanship, his quick wit and marvelous sense of humor.