Thursday, August 25, 2005

 
August 25th, 1978

Major League Umpires Begin Strike


An equally good heading, of course, would have been "Major League Umpires End Strike" as it was a one-day affair, as after a brief court battle the umpires were forced back to work. In the interim, amateur and semipro umpires were forced into service. That must've been quite a trip for some of these guys, one day you're umpiring the Biloxi Mudhounds against the Pascagoula Pigfarmers or something and the next day there you are, Braves and Cardinals at Fulton County Stadium.

In some cases, suitable replacement umpires could not be found and even more extreme measures had to be taken. In Toronto--where presumably you couldn't throw a stick without hitting twenty people who would volunteer to officiate a hockey match but baseball umps are harder to come by--the Twins and Blue Jays were reducing to using coaches. One Twins' coach, Jerry Zimmerman and one Jays' coach, Don Leppert umpired as part of a strange five-man crew that featured the standard four infield umpires and a man-in-blue down the right field--but not left field--line. (Leppert, incidentally, umpired at third and Zimmerman at second.) This was the first--and so far as I know last--time since 1941 when active coaches had umpired in a game.



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