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NEWS
September 8, 1999
It's a mystery. Arthur Conan Doyle might have called it The Strange Case of the Arrogant Arbiters. Last week, 22 men in blue disappeared from Major League Baseball diamonds. It's hard to understand why only those 22 went poof - or how they let things go so far foul. These 22, many of them with decades in the game, were the umpires Major League Baseball decided to toss after a boneheaded tactic by their union gave the sport an opening to weed its workforce. On July 14, the umpires in the National and American Leagues - operating under a mass delusion fueled by their leader, Philadelphia lawyer Richie Phillips - jointly submitted their resignations, effective last week.
NEWS
October 23, 1999 | By Adrienne Harrison
Baseball 1999 is playing its final innings. As this century's exploits become part of the sport's history, let's reflect on how one vital aspect of baseball can be improved for the season - and millennium - now on deck. Umpiring surely merits a review. For one thing, several important games in the recent playoffs were marred by pretty bad calls, including at least two games in the Yankees-Red Sox playoffs. For another, there's simply no recourse. When an umpire's decision is questioned, it is allowed to stand - no official review, no one looking at a replay, no nothing, save for the hopeless bleats of offended players, managers and fans.
SPORTS
April 4, 1998 | FROM INQUIRER WIRE SERVICES
Three umpires stranded for several hours by weather-related problems in Atlanta finally showed up for work in the fifth inning of last night's game between the Padres and Cardinals in St. Louis. Philadelphian Eric Gregg, who took an earlier flight, was the only umpire who made it in time and was behind the plate. The Cardinals filled in the other three umpiring spots with college-level umps from the St. Louis area. The equipment for crew chief Bruce Froemming, Larry Vanover and Mark Hirschbeck arrived at Busch Stadium about a half hour before the game started.
NEWS
November 5, 1989 | By Frank Devlin, Special to The Inquirer
It was Wednesday morning, and Newtown's Al Clark had just returned home to Bucks County after a long, long season. "I'm usually home much earlier than this," said the 14-year American League umpire, back from the 1989 World Series. "I'm not relaxed at all yet. . . . It takes about two to three weeks to come down after being on the road for 7 1/2 months. " The baseball season is always a grind for umpires, who have no home games. From spring training in March to the pennant races in late September, umpires criss-cross the country in groups of four, and can go months at a time without touching home plate.
SPORTS
August 24, 1990 | By Paul Hagen, Daily News Sports Writer
After the Phillies finish playing the Giants this weekend, they will resume play at Veterans Stadium with a game against the Dodgers Tuesday night. Harry Wendelstedt's crew is scheduled to work the series. Which means Joe West also should be there. Which means the Phillies' beef with National League umpires in general and West in particular won't go away any time soon. General manager Lee Thomas spoke to NL president Bill White on the phone yesterday. It wasn't the first time this year he's called to complain about West.
SPORTS
July 13, 2007 | By Frank Fitzpatrick INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Shag Crawford, 90, the square-jawed, hard-nosed umpire who raised two professional sports officials, died Wednesday in the Glen Mills assisted-living facility where he had lived for the last year. Mr. Crawford, who never earned more than $35,000 a year in baseball, worked the first of more than 3,000 National League games in 1956. In 20 seasons, he umpired three World Series, two NL championship series, and three All-Star Games. The West Philadelphia native's nickname and his passionate, no-nonsense style helped him stand out in an era when umpires often were as nondescript as the black uniforms they wore in both cold and heat.
NEWS
April 22, 1991 | By Glenn Berkey, Special to The Inquirer
College students go to Florida every March. Dave Perry of Morrisville just wishes he could have gone this year. Not for sun and surf, mind you. To be an umpire at spring training for major-league baseball. Perry umpires college games for the Atlantic 10, the Big East and the ECAC. When it looked as if the major-league umpires were going to go on strike this spring, the major leagues scrambled to make contingency plans. About three weeks before spring training began, Link Braude, who works for the American League, got in touch with Pete DeFlesko, who umpires with Perry.
SPORTS
May 25, 2003 | FROM INQUIRER WIRE SERVICES
Bill Butler wanted to protect his field. Instead, a tarpaulin dispute turned heated and he became part of baseball lore - a groundskeeper who got ejected. "It was a little bit shocking," Butler said yesterday. "I couldn't really believe it. " Players and managers are regularly tossed from ball games, and even mascots and broadcasters have been thrown out. But there was no apparent record of anything like this. The episode happened Friday night in Lakewood, N.J., where the BlueClaws were playing Kannapolis in the single-A South Atlantic League.
SPORTS
May 12, 2001 | FROM INQUIRER WIRE SERVICES
Nine of the 22 umpires terminated by baseball two years ago following a failed mass resignation were given their jobs back yesterday by an arbitrator. Major League Baseball was ordered to rehire Drew Coble, Gary Darling, Bill Hohn, Greg Kosc, Larry Poncino, Larry Vanover and Joe West. In addition, arbitrator Alan Symonette ordered baseball to take back two umpires who have said they intend to retire: Frank Pulli and Terry Tata. Baseball also was ordered to give the nine back pay for the time they missed.
SPORTS
July 22, 1999 | Daily News Wire Services
Three veteran American League umpires told Bloomberg News that union chief Richie Phillips should be replaced because he's providing bad leadership. Rocky Roe, Dave Phillips and John Hirschbeck, the umpire who was spit at by former Baltimore second baseman Roberto Alomar in September 1996, called for the resignation as the labor dispute with Major League Baseball dragged into its second week. Baseball officials said a deadline of tomorrow has been considered for umpires to rescind their resignations or lose the option to return, although no final decision has been made.
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NEWS
March 7, 2015 | By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Joseph Lees was "blessed with this childlike enthusiasm for everything," son Gary said. "He got excited about every little thing you were doing. "Even in his 90s, he wanted to hand you the tools that measured the board you were going to cut. " On Sunday, March 1, Mr. Lees, 93, of Hainesport, a fast-pitch softball umpire who was inducted in 1978 into the Philadelphia Softball Association Hall of Fame, died at home. Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Lees grew up near Chelten and Ogontz Avenues and graduated from Germantown High School.
SPORTS
June 23, 2014 | By Marc Narducci, Inquirer Staff Writer
ST. LOUIS - Cole Hamels appeared irked on the mound, and since the Phillies' lefthander declined to speak with reporters after Saturday's 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, catcher Carlos Ruiz provided some insight. "He felt the umpire [Larry Vanover] was a little inconsistent," Ruiz said, "but he was still throwing good pitches and getting people out. " Hamels struck out eight but walked five. He threw 120 pitches, 75 for strikes. The five walks tied a season high and matched the total he had in his previous three starts.
NEWS
June 12, 2013
By Michael Bradley When I was 14, I spent a summer week with my cousins' family in Avalon, swimming and goofing off as only a teenage boy can. It was a great time, except for the fishing trip. Make that especially because of the fishing trip. Midweek, my uncle announced that his good friend had chartered a boat and that we would all be setting out on an early-morning fishing junket the next day. We were all excited, particularly since my uncle's friend was Richie Phillips, who died last week at age 72. I had met Mr. Phillips a couple of years earlier and found him extremely formidable.
NEWS
June 5, 2013 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Richie Phillips, 72, of Berwyn, a lawyer, businessman, and head of the former Major League Umpires Association for two decades until a failed bargaining strategy led to his ouster and the formation of another union, died of cardiac arrest Friday at his second home in Cape May. The combative Mr. Phillips liked to tell friends how at age 13, he organized the altar boys at Our Lady of Angels in West Philadelphia and went out on strike in a spat over...
SPORTS
May 10, 2013
The bosses at Major League Baseball on Thursday told the Athletics that they were right, the umps were wrong, and they were sorry but they can't make amends. One day after umpire Angel Hernandez and his crew blew a call on what would have been a game-tying homer for Oakland at Cleveland, MLB executive vice president Joe Torre told the A's to suck it up. With two outs in the ninth inning Wednesday, Adam Rosales sent a drive to left that easily cleared the 19-foot-high outfield wall and struck a metal railing before bouncing back into the field of play.
SPORTS
May 1, 2013
It turns out umpire Brian O'Nora didn't just swallow his chaw during the first inning of the Phils-Mets game Friday. MLB announced Monday that he is recovering from an intestinal tear that forced him to make a sudden exit. There was no timetable for his return. The 50-year-old had been feeling ill before the game in New York. He was the plate ump and quickly left the field during the bottom of the first, hurrying through the Mets dugout. The game was delayed nine minutes and resumed with three men in blue.
NEWS
March 1, 2013 | By Mari A. Schaefer, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A former Delaware County police officer has been charged with theft after allegedly taking money from a local baseball club. John Rapp, 43, a former Bethel Township police officer and one-time treasurer of the Chichester Baseball League, allegedly took more than $12,000 for his own personal use, according to court records. Rapp, of Garnet Valley, has been charged with theft and receiving stolen property, according to court records. He is expected to turn himself in Thursday. Rapp could not be reached for comment.
SPORTS
October 15, 2012 | By Howie Rumberg, Associated Press
NEW YORK - Anibal Sanchez and the Detroit Tigers made the plays, got a favorable call from an umpire, and took advantage of their few chances at the plate. The reward: a commanding lead in the AL Championship Series, and a trip home with their ace ready to start. Sanchez shut down a Yankees lineup minus injured Derek Jeter, who broke his ankle in the 12th inning of a 6-4 loss Saturday night, and Detroit won without any drama, beating New York, 3-0, Sunday for a two-games-to-none cushion in the best-of-seven series.
NEWS
June 15, 2012 | By Matt Katz, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON — William Scott Jr. was concerned about a housing development being built near his Montclair home by a politically connected nonprofit. He filed an open records request to try to figure out how the nonprofit secured a big government construction grant from Essex County, even though it applied past the deadline. His request was rejected by the county. So he appealed to the New Jersey Government Records Council (GRC), which hears such cases. Twenty-one months later, he watched as the GRC voted on his case in a meeting room in Trenton.
SPORTS
June 15, 2012 | By Michael Harrington, Inquirer Staff Writer
If you want to be perfect, Ted Barrett is your guy. And add Brian Runge. Barrett was behind the plate late Wednesday night when San Francisco Giants righthander Matt Cain twirled his 10-0, perfecto against the Houston Astros. He also was the plate umpire when David Cone threw his perfect game for the New York Yankees in a 6-0 win over the Montreal Expos on July 18, 1999. But if you really want to be certain, make sure Runge is on the crew. Runge, who was at third for Cain's gem, was behind the plate when Kevin Millwood and five Seattle relievers combined for a 1-0 no-hit win over the Dodgers last week - and for Philip Humber's perfect game for the White Sox against the Mariners April 21. Barrett compared Cone and Cain: "Cone had the big, big back-door breaking ball.
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