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.
October 23, 1999 |
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.
April 4, 1998 |
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.
November 5, 1989 |
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.
August 24, 1990 |
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.
July 13, 2007 |
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.
April 22, 1991 |
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.
May 25, 2003 |
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.
May 12, 2001 |
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.
July 22, 1999 |
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.