Local sports loses a great friend

Tryve Brackin

Local amateur sports lost a great friend last Friday when A.J. Barbier passed away.

He was the president of the Captial City Umpire Assn. and was a member of the Plaquemine High football sidelines down markers team for many years.

He also was the state chief of umpires for Babe Ruth baseball. “When I took over as the Commissioner of Louisiana Babe Ruth Baseball, A.J. became the chief of the organization’s umpires. It was a perfect fit for him. He umpired baseball games for our Iberville Parish and Recreation District for over twenty years. Anyone who played IPRD or high school baseball in Plaquemine knew him. We lost a great friend and contributor,” commented IPRD Executive Director Mike Markins.

Down through the years I watched hundreds of high school games in Plaquemine and the parish that A.J. umpired. And, I saw quite a number of Plaquemine High football games that he worked on the sidelines. He was a fixture in Plaquemine sports through the spring to summer to fall as a contributor.

When I think about local prep umpires and referees, A.J. and Shane Lopez come quickest to mind as those I have been around the most over my 30-year time as sports editor.

In recent years, I found out A.J. was a standout football player at St. John High during his younger years.

My deepest condolences go out to the Barbier family. We have lost a wonderful friend we will always remember. I don’t know if we will ever find someone to replace him behind the plate or on the sidelines.