James Michael Wolf (born July 24, 1969) is a Major League Baseball umpire. He joined the major league staff in 1999 after working in the Arizona Rookie League, the South Atlantic League, the California League, the Texas League and the Pacific Coast League. He wears uniform number 28.
On October 4, 2001, Wolf served as third base umpire when Rickey Henderson broke Ty Cobb's runs scored record.
Wolf drew criticism from ESPN announcers after he ejected Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ted Lilly at the start of a game on June 10, 2007 against the Atlanta Braves. Wolf ruled that Lilly had intentionally thrown at the batter's head, and immediately ejected the pitcher. While such a penalty is uncommon without a formal warning to both teams, such action is permitted by baseball's rules.
On May 9, 2010, Wolf was the home plate umpire for Dallas Braden's perfect game. His crew also officiated Armando Galarraga's near-perfect game on June 2, 2010. On July 9, 2011, Wolf was the home plate umpire when Derek Jeter got his 3,000th hit against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Wolf missed several months during the 2013 season due to an apparent back injury. He worked a rehab assignment at Triple-ACharlotte the weekend of July 18–19 en route to a return to the Major Leagues.
On August 2, 2015, Wolf was involved in a series of controversial events in a game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals. According to National Post sportswriter John Lott, "Umpire Jim Wolf lost control of the game." The controversy was based upon a warning by Wolf to both teams after Blue Jays batter Josh Donaldson was struck by a pitch in the first inning by Edinson Vólquez. The benches were cleared after a number of pitches could have resulted in the Royals' pitcher's ejection, and did not, but a pitch by the Blue Jays' relief pitcher Aaron Sanchez that hit Alcides Escobar immediately resulted in Sanchez being ejected. Former Blue Jays catcher and current Sportsnet baseball analyst Gregg Zaun criticized Wolf for his inability to enforce the warning that was issued in the first.
Post-season and All-Star games
Wolf was the right field umpire for the single-game playoff to decide the NL's 2007 wild card team, has officiated four Division Series (2007, 2010, 2014, 2015), two League Championship Series (2011, 2016), one Wild Card Game (2016 and one World Series (2015). He has also worked one All-Star Game (2010).
Wolf is married and resides in Ahwatukee, Arizona. His younger brother Randy was a pitcher in the major leagues from 1999 until 2015. To avoid a conflict of interest, Jim Wolf would be removed from assignments if his crew was assigned to work any game where Randy Wolf was on either team's roster.