AL Kaplon Biography
Al Kaplon was born and raised in the West San Fernando Valley city of Woodland Hills, California. Before he graduated from Taft High School in 1975, he had already started his officiating career working after school and on weekends.
In 1976 at the age of 19, Al won the award of “Umpire of the Year” from his local Umpire Association. The award came with a scholarship to the Bill Kinamon professional Umpire School- a five week intense program that is the first step in a career as a professional baseball umpire. Al graduated high enough to get placed in pro ball. He would later come back as an instructor at that Pro Umpire School for 5 years.
After signing his first contract as an umpire in professional baseball in 1977, AL spent the next 10 years in the minor leagues with stints in the Lone Star League, Northwest League, California League, Texas League and five seasons in the Pacific Coast League.
Al Kaplon's Major League Baseball experience included Umpiring in the American League and working as the Director of Umpire Development for MLB International until 1995.
With Al's acting career already on the rise booking commercials and movie parts since his first role in the movie “Talent for the Game” in 1988. Al started his own production company “Official Communications” in 1989.
Official Communications since 1989 has produced a series of Baseball Umpire Instructional videos and books which spawned the web site VIDEOUMP.com. These videos became known as the premier umpire teaching tools world wide. The videos have been critically acclaimed as extremity entertaining with educational insight and high production quality.
Little League Baseball Inc. teamed with AL and Official Communications in 2003 to produce and distribute the official licensed Umpire Mechanics video for Little League Baseball known as “Basic Umpiring and the Two Umpire System 60' Diamond Mechanics”.
Appearing in some 60 or so commercials and a number of TV series over a 15 year span Al's acting career reached new heights when he was cast and appeared in the 2004 hit comedy instant classic “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”. Cast in the role of “Tournament Referee” Al's talent shined on the big screen as #13 on the cast list with mega stars such as Ben Stiller, William Shatner, Hank Azaria & Vince Vaughn.
In 2008 Al's career continued to propel forward as the “Referee” for the NBC prime time revival of American Gladiators.
With continuous commercial, movie and TV show bookings, Al returned to his roots working with MLB.com as an Umpire Analyst which included duties as Rulings and calls analysis on the fly as plays happened during the MLB season... and two appearances at the 2013 and 2014 All Star Games “MLB.com's Live Stage” Show in New York and Minnesota respectively.
Recently (2018-2019) Al could be seen as the Umpire yelling Speeeeeeeeeeerite!!! in a Sprite Commercial with LeBron James who is the “Big Taste” pitcher with the Sprite can fastball!!