Thursday, February 21, 2008

History of Umpires

In the earliest days of baseball many senior umpires always worked home plate. (Hall of Fame umpire, Bill Klem, who umpired the most games of any major league ump with 5,368, was the last umpire to only umpire the plate. He umpired from the years 1905 thru 1941 inclusive.)

Can you imagine the frequency in badly called games where balls and strikes were concerned?
How many jobs like you to take a break or do something different for fear of complacency or lack of focus? It's good the big leagues has instituted the rotation system (home plate to third base to second base to first base). So every ump gets a chance to do all of the bases AND home plate.

In Wikipedia is a listing of all those who umpired major league baseball.

Francis H. "Silk" O'Loughlin (born 1870 and died at age 48 on December 20, 1918)

He acquired his nickname as a young lad when his neighbors considered his hair to be of a fine quality. (Not to be confused with former NBA baller, "Slick" Watts, of head-shaven notoriety.)

O'Loughlin was known particularly for his booming calls of "ball tuh" and his drawn out strike calls. His foul ball calls were quite snappy, as well. Ole Silk used gestures to indicate the calls visually and many observers recommended that the major leagues adopt them. But the rules committee ultimately opted against such adoption.

Previously the umpires had simply informed the catcher or nearest defensive player of their call. So you can see that Silk O'Loughlin's manner of executing the call was eventually picked up as the prototype for all umpires.

Atta boy Silky. You weren't a bum!

Kevin Marquez