Mike Partlow
Softball 2023
Since the 1970s, Mike Partlow has been a common face at softball diamonds. For over 40 years, he has umpired outs, balls and strikes at high school games, state tournaments and major college games. Early in his career as an umpire, Partlow put softball aside when he started officiating college basketball. But a friend got Partlow back into the game and it stuck.
“I give Scott Buser full credit for getting me back into softball again,” Partlow said. “He told me I would go crazy doing nothing so why don’t you try softball again.” Not only did he put his ball-strike clicker back to work, Partlow increased his involvement over time. For the past two years, he has been the president of the Western Washington Umpires Association. “I would do it all over again,” he said, while waiting for the spring season to begin.
His umpiring resume is impressive. In addition to Washington high schools, Partlow has worked college games around most of the West. From 1984 to 2015, he umpired in the West Coast Conference. From 1984 to 2010, he umpired in the Big West Conference. From 1984 to 1994, he umpired in the Pac-10 Conference and from 1990 to 1994 he umpired in the Big Sky Conference.
At the high school level, over the past three years he has worked the class 3A and 4A WIAA fastpitch state tournaments. He’s also had assignments to umpire regional tournaments in each of the past six years.
His commitment to umpiring has lasted 45 years, back to the days he umpired while in college. After graduating from Olympia High School in 1973, Partlow enrolled at Washington State and majored in education. Before Partlow became a dependable softball umpire, he was a three-sport athlete, lettering in football, basketball and baseball for the Bears. In football, he was the go-to-guy as he started at quarterback. In basketball, he played forward and in baseball he played shortstop. He was the only nine-sport letterman in his class. When his playing days were over, umpiring seemed like a natural transition and it has been a long-lasting one.
2023 Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients