Thursday, March 6, 2008

Jocko Conlan: A Player then an Umpire

Jocko Conlan (born December 6, 1899.... Died on April 16, 1989.)

Before working as an umpire he played for the Chicago White Sox in 1934 and 1935. His lifetime statistics were: AB: 365 H: 96 R: 55 HR: 0... He attempted 5 stolen bases and was t'rown out 5 times...

His umpiring career was in the National League. He worked from 1941-1965.

Conlan was the plate umpire when Gil Hodges hit four home runs on August 31, 1950. He was also an umpire when Willie Mays hit four home runs in Milwaukee, on April 30, 1961.

Jocko Conlan was known for several trademarks:

(1) Instead of a regular dress tie, like most umpires of his day wore, he wore a natty bow tie throughout his career.

(2) He made "out" calls with his left hand versus the traditional right hand used by every other umpire.

(3) He was the last National League umpire allowed to wear the outside protector. (Makes me wonder why it was okay for Jocko and not Beans Reardon. The double-standard that plays favorites with some while others are left holding the trash bag. Perhaps it was the name Jocko, a clowny, funtime moniker loved by all?)

Jocko's name, was mentioned several times in a fictitious baseball game celebrated in the 1962 song, "The Los Angeles Dodgers," recorded by Danny Kaye. (It's possible the song derived from the fact that Jocko and Leo "the Lip" Durocher were considered colorful characters and sometimes the two would clash.)

From all accounts it sounds like Jocko was fun. Those who played when he umped did too!
Atta boy Jocko, this brew's for you!

Kevin Marquez