Posts Tagged ‘Umpires’

Play Ball!

April 1, 2011


“I must diet,” said the player, “I am training for the season;
The more I work and the less I eat, the slimmer I will get.
The way those drummers gorge themselves is simply out of reason;
I swore to eat small luncheons, and I mean it, to, you bet!”
The player tucked his napkin in the crevice o’er his collar
And picking up a bill of fare he scanned it for a while,
Then, reaching in his pocket, slipped the “dinge” a silver dollar
And gave the following order in a loud and lordly style:

“Tomato Soup, some bluefish, please —
Be sure and fill the platter;
About six lamb chops served with peas —
Go heavy on the latter.
About a dozen bullfrogs’ legs,
With Tartar sauce around ’em;
A good big plate of scrambled eggs,
And give the date you found em!
Then some dessert, ice cream and cake,
A dish of charlotte russe,
And coffee. Now, old stocking, take
That score card and vamoose!”
The treasurer of the ball club heard and joy was in his heart,
Because the meal was table d’hote instead of a la carte.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California Apr 5, 1906

Billings Gazette (Billings, Montana) Apr 11, 1920



“Play — ” no, we won’t start it that way!
And there is an excellent reason
For since men first started to play
“The opening game of the season,”
Each bard and scribe of the newspaper tribe
Has wrinkled his hard-working brow
Then started “Play –” — Nix on those old-fashioned tricks,
WE’RE gonna be different now!

“Play –” — Antediluvian stuff!
WE’LL use some ORIGINAL dope.
WE’RE cleaver and snappy enough
To pull some new phrases, we hope;
We’ve always averred that a scrivening bird
Should certainly know how to do
The opening day without starting it, “Play –,”
WE’RE gonna do something that’s new.

“Play –” there’s the darn phrase once again.
We’ll prove to all manner of men
That we’re an original cuss;
“The season has started, the fans are light hearted,
The game has the crowd in its thrall,
“Play –” (ain’t it the deuce) “Play –” (oh what’s the use?)
“Play –” (gosh, I can’t help it)

(Copyright 1923, NEA Service, Inc.)

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Apr 9, 1923

Baseball just wouldn’t be baseball — without the umpires!


Sports Editor
(Associated Press Feature Service)

New York, (AP.) — Those mobile-faced umpires, the real war horses of baseball, are going back to the firing line for another season of calling them “like they see ’em.”

That is just what 1930 means for those keen-eyed warriors to whom Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Lefty Grove and other glittering diamond stars are just so many more ball-players.

Out there on opening day will be such baseball disciplinarians as Tom Connolly, Bill Dinneen, Clarence “Brick” Owens and George Hildebrand of the American league, and Bill “Catfish” Klem, Ernie Quigley, Cy Rigler, and Charley Moran of the National.

Some of these men have been clicking an indicator in the big leagues for 25 years and what they know about the great American pastime would fill more bookshelves than all of the volumes written about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.

Take Tom Connolly who, at 60, has been running major league ball games for 32 years. He has been with the American league alone since 1901 and there are few in this land as conversant with the playing code as “The Duke of Natick.” Connolly probably knows more firemen than any other American. You see, Tom used to look for congenial company at the local fire halls in the days when the umpires kept themselves more aloof from the ballplayers. He still pursues this custom.

There is Brick Owens, younger in years, but a big league umpire at intervals for 22 years. He has been with the American league since 1916. Naturally “Brick” acquired his odd sobriquet because of being hit with a brick. That occurred when the big arbiter was officiating in an independent game out at Pittsburg, Kans.

High among the picturesque characters who enforce the laws of baseball is Bill “Catfish” Klem, himself. Probably the greatest ball and strike expert in the business, Klem has been a National leaguer since 1905. A scribe once angrily referred to Klem as “looking like a catfish.” That was way back in those days when such uncouth things even appeared in the newspapers, but all along Klem has stuck to the nickname, laughing with the baseball world at what some would consider plain slander.

Bill Dinneen is one of the older umpires. He is 54 and has been in the American league since 1910. Dinneen pitched baseball for  15 years and says he still finds himself pitching every game he works. “I know what the batters can hit and what they cannot hit,” said the veteran. “Consequently, I say to myself, ‘If I were pitching I would hand this bird a curve, low and on the outside, etc., etc.'”

A brother “umps” of Dinneen’s is George Hildebrand, an American leaguer of 17 years’ experience. He took up the indicator after an injured knee spoiled a career in the Pacific Coast league where he was noted for his speed.

Three of the better known National league arbiters are Charley Moran, Ernie Quigley and Cy Rigler. Quigley, who has been in the senior loop since 1913, is widely known as a football and basketball official. Rigler has been in and out of the umpiring ranks since 1906 and Moran who has been calling them since 1918. “Uncle Charley” Moran is the man who coached the “Praying Colonels” of Centre college to a brief but high position in the football world.

A dignified and colorful lot are these old masters of the diamond. They certainly can’t be judged by what the pop-eyed fans will be hollering after April 15.

Morning Herald (Hagerstown, Maryland) Apr 12, 1930