Here's what I want to know...
There MUST be some significance to the UEFL banner on top of the page. No one just randomly puts in pics of Fred Brocklander and Dave Pallone...two guys who worked during the MLB strike way back in the day. And the clocks? I am racking my brain trying the figure what the time on each clock could stand for.
Those are great pics of Kaiser, Reilly and JJ...but Brocklander? Fred Freakin' Brocklander? At least Pallone, IMHO, proved he belonged and overcame two stigmas (scab and gay) to be in the bigs.
Of course, the bigger issue may be that I can even recognize a photo of Brocklander. Must. Get. A. Life.
To this, we say: Excellent observations. Indeed, the umpires who appear in the banner run the gamut of professional umpiring history. Here is a brief overview of the elements of the UEFL Banner at the top of the page.
Left Clock, Right Clock: The clock images come from atop the famous Wrigley Field scoreboard. Built in 1914 as Weegman park, Wrigley best represents all of Major League's ballparks. As the second oldest stadium in MLB (behind Fenway), Wrigley is full of baseball history. Featuring a hand turned scoreboard, an iconic main entry marquee, a stadium so dedicated to the tradition of the day game (only having installed lights in 1988), and its setting in the middle of the surrounding Lakeview neighborhood, The Friendly Confines is a clear choice for inclusion in our banner dedicated to professional umpiring history. The clocks themselves represent a progression of time.
Nicholas Young: Positioned next to the 3:55pm clock (perhaps a day game?) is baseball executive Nicholas Young. Truly representative of the turn of the century umpire (that would be the 1900 turn of the century), Young served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Like most umpires during the 1870s, Young was a right fielder by trade and was instrumental in forming the National Association of Professional Baseball Players, the first professional baseball league in the United States of America. Young managed the Washington team from 1871-1873 and also umpired in the league. Young served as secretary and treasurer of the newly formed National League, before becoming NL President from 1885-1902. He left the League later that year to return to his first job, with the US Treasury Department. He is not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
John Joseph "Rip" Egan: Next to young is Rip Egan, who was also a player by trade. From 1894-1900, Egan pitched professionally with the minor league Providence Clamdiggers, Omaha Omahogs, Detroit Tigers (a minor league team at the time), Kansas City Blues, and Cleveland Lake Shores, and the major league Washington Senators (he lasted one day in the bigs, giving up five runs in five innings, posting an ERA of 10.80... he didn't get the loss and finished with a 0-0 record). Egan began his American League umpiring career in 1907, which would last through the 1914 season. During his time as a professional umpire, Egan umpired two no-hitters (Frank Smith, Joe Benz) and umpired the 1913 World Series. Proving that baseball truly is a timeless sport, Egan, just like the umpires of today, was criticized by the press because of a close call he made during a Naps-Cardinals contest in 1908. Regardless, Egan was "highly regarded" as an umpire. He is not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
DISPUTED: Charles Moran: There is some controversy regarding the man next to Egan. First up is "Uncle Charley" Moran, a collegiate football player, professional baseball player, collegiate and professional football coach, collegiate baseball coach, and professional baseball umpire. After playing college football at the University of Tennessee and Bethel College, Moran was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. He lasted slightly longer than Egan, a grand total of three games in 1903, during which he posted an ERA of 5.25 in 24 innings of work, with a record of 0-1, and an offensive batting average of .429 (perhaps he should have been a position player). He then returned to the Cardinals in 1908, as a catcher (listened to my advice), playing in 21 games and batting just .175 on the last place Cardinals team. He bounced around several minor league teams after 1908, while moonlighting as a college football coach from 1909-1933. He was an NFL coach (Frankford Yellow Jackets) in 1927. While continuing to coach football and play minor league baseball, he picked up a baseball coaching job at Texas A&M, which he held from 1909-1914. In 1918, Moran became a National League umpire, beginning a career highlighted by four World Series (1927, 1929, 1933 -crew chief, 1938 -crew chief), and a 1929 Carl Hubbell no-hitter. He retired in 1939. He is not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but he is in the Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame.
DISPUTED: Tom Connolly: There is some controversy that the man next to Egan is actually Tom Connolly. Connolly officiated in the National League from 1898-1900, before joining the American League in 1901. During his umpiring and umpire supervising career, he established strict umpiring standards, solidifying the integrity associated with umpiring. Originally a cricket player (English, you see), Connolly quickly made the transition to baseball upon arriving in the United States of America in 1885. He became a rules expert (perhaps the ultimate inspiration for the UEFL's concept of rules knowledge) and began umpiring in the early 1890s. He switched from the NL to the AL in 1900, having resigned from the NL because the league's president (the aforementioned Nicholas Young) was reluctant to back up umpires' on field decisions, when pressured by owners. After being assured by AL president Ban Johnson that umpires' judgement was final, Connolly umpired the first American League game ever played on April 24, 1901 and would later umpire the first AL games ever played at Comiskey Park, Shibe Park, Fenway Park, and (the old) Yankee Stadium. The first ever winner of the UEFL (if there had been one back in 1901), Connolly led the AL with 10 ejections during its first season of existence. He ultimately earned great respect and restraint, once going 10 full seasons without an ejection. Connolly worked the first ever World Series in 1903, the only AL member of that crew. When he retired from field-work in 1931 to become the first ever AL umpire supervisor, a post he held until 1954, Connolly had worked a (then-) record 8 World Series (1903, 1908, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1916, 1920, 1924) and four no-hitters. On May 4, 1928, he participated in what has become known as the ultimate real-life Hall of Fame All-Star Game: During the New York Yankees-Philadelphia Athletics game that day, 17 future hall of famers took the field as players, managers, and umpires (Bill McGowan was the other HOF umpire who worked that contest). Connolly is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, one of the first two umpires ever elected. Connolly and NL Umpire Bill Klem both were inducted in 1953.
Bruce Froemming: Next to Moran is Bruce Froemming, the longest tenured umpire in major league history, having umpired 37 full seasons upon his retirement after the 2007 season. Froemming umpired his first National League games in 1971, and in 2007, surpassed Bill Klem (who is in the Hall of Fame) for most seasons umpired. Only Froemming and Klem have umpired 5,000 games as of this post. Froemming also broke Klem's age record for oldest umpire to work a game; Froemming was 68 years and 2 days old on September 30, 2007, his final big league contest. Like the early umpires, Froemming too started out as a baseball player, but decided on umpiring early on in his adult life. He quickly rose to the rank of crew chief in 1988, and when all was said and done, Froemming had worked 5 World Series (1976, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1995), 10 National League Championship Series (1973, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1997, 2000), 9 Division Series (1981, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007), and 3 All-Star Games (1975, 1986, 2007). He holds records for most NLCS worked (10, tied with Jerry Crawford), most DS worked (9), and most total postseason games worked (111; Klem = 103, Crawford = 108). He also worked a record 11 no-hitters, including one thrown by Cubs pitcher Milt Pappas in 1972, who had his perfect game ended when with two outs and a 3-2 count in the 9th inning, he walked pinch-hitter Larry Stahl on a close (but inside) pitch. Froemming has been the subject of controversy for this and similar on-the-field reasons, as well as several off-the-field incidents; he was suspended for offensive comments in 2003 (10-days, no pay), and was fined in 1996 for going into the Dodgers' clubhouse before a game in New York... he had wanted Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza's autograph. Froemming retired in 2007 and is not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, though he gained election eligibility in 2010.
Fred Brocklander: Next to Froemming is Fred Brocklander, an NL Umpire from 1979-1992. He, too, started out as a player, joining the Kansas City Athletics organization as a minor leaguer in 1962. He also was a serious multi-sport official, and officiated amateur soccer as well as Division I College Basketball. After working in minor league baseball for 10 years, many major league umpires decided to strike in 1979 as part of an ill-conceived collective bargaining technique (sound familiar? It happened again - to a more extreme extent - 20 years later). Brocklander was one of those who then gained a National League spot as a result of the 1979 strike. He umpired the 1984 All-Star Game and the 1986 NLCS, where he was met with Houston-area controversy after ruling Astros batter-runner Craig Reynolds out at first base in the second inning. Fran Blinebury of the Houston Chronicles "eternally linked" Brocklander and Umpire Don Denkinger in Blinebury's very own Hall of Shame. Denkinger, of course, had clearly missed a call during the 9th inning in Game 6 1985 World Series. Brocklander was the NL Umpire who gave us the quote, umpiring is "one of the few professions in the world where you’re supposed to be perfect and get better." Having retired for health reasons in 1992, Brocklander returned to umpiring in 1998, opting for high school softball. Like Egan, Brocklander was described by former player Mark Grace as a "highly regarded major league umpire of twelve years." He is not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Dave Pallone: Next to Brocklander is Dave Pallone. Like Brocklander, he too was hired by the NL in 1979 following the strike of that year. During his career, he umpired the 1983 All-Star Game and 1987 NLCS. He umpired one no-hitter (Mike Scott, 1986) and presided over Nolan Ryan's 4,000th career strikeout in 1985. Pallone, like many both before and after him, was involved in controversy when in 1988, he called Mets batter-runner Mookie Wilson safe on a close play. When Reds Manager Pete Rose came out to argue (click here for a YouTube video of this confrontation... what's your Quality of Correctness here?), gesturing between the two led to Rose shoving Pallone, fans littering the field with garbage (not that fans throwing things is unusual...), and ultimately the decision to be made that Pallone would be taken out of the ball game to ease tensions. Controversial (theme, huh?) Reds owner Marge Schott was referenced on the stadium's jumbo-tron, the message reading, "Please do not throw objects onto the field, or the game may be forfeited. Please 'cool it'. Thanks, Marge." Pallone would resign later that season, and later wrote a tell-all book, Behind the Mask, about his experiences as a gay man working as a professional baseball umpire. He is not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Joe West (22): Next to Pallone (more accurately, over his left shoulder) is Joe West. Unlike Pallone and Brocklander, he was hired by the National League in 1976 and was not displaced by the 1979 strike. He would, however, lose his job in 1999, before being hired back by MLB in 2002. Crew chief "Cowboy Joe" was a starting quarterback at Elon College, winning the MVP award in 1973. A singer/songwriter as well as an umpire, West also designed and marketed the "West Vest" chest protector, marketed by Wilson Sporting Goods. He also made one film appearance, playing the Third Base Umpire during a Mariners-Angels game (at Dodger Stadium... featuring a pre-game shot of Wrigley Field) in 1988's The Naked Gun (wonder why Joe West is wearing an AL hat in the UEFL banner?). As of the beginning of the 2011 season, West has umpired 4 World Series (1992, 1997, 2005, 2009), 7 LCS (1981, 1986, 1988, 1993, 1996, 2003, 2004), and 4 DS (1995, 2002, 2005, 2009). Like many other umpires before and after him, West has been criticized by multiple outlets (White Sox?), and indeed fueled controversy himself in 2010 when he remarked that the Yankees and Red Sox play too slowly, that their pace of game relative to the Commissioner's edict on faster games is "pathetic and embarrassing." He was voted the 2nd worst umpire in Major League Baseball after the 2009 season. West was elected President of the World Umpires Association prior to the 2010 season. He has worked over 4,000 games. West is not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and is currently part of the 2011 MLB staff, but he is in the Elon Sports Hall of Fame.
Ken Kaiser: Next to West is AL Umpire Ken Kaiser, who worked in the league from 1977-1999. Like many others, Kaiser was an athlete before he was an arbiter, but unlike some other umpires, he was a professional wrestler known as "The Hatchet Man." Like West, he also lost his job in 1999, but unlike West, was not hired back by MLB afterwards. Kaiser worked the 1991 All-Star Game, 2 World Series (1987, 1997), 4 ALCS (1980, 1988, 1993, 1995), and 3 ALDS (1981, 1996, 1997). Like several other umpires during his era, Kaiser was criticized for his weight (he was listed at 288 pounds, though some suspect he broke the 300 pound mark). After NL Umpire John McSherry suffered a fatal opening day, on-field heart attack in 1996, Kaiser reduced his listed weight to 270 by 1999. Unlike Egan and Brocklander, Kaiser was not "highly regarded." Instead, former pitcher Tom Candiotti claimed Kaiser "wouldn't move three steps to call a play"; fellow umpire Durwood Merrill noted Kaiser "marched to the beat of his own drummer." AL players voted him "worst umpire in the AL" in 1999. Like Pallone, Kaiser penned an autobiography, 2003's Planet of the Umps: A Baseball Life From Behind the Plate. Kaiser is not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Mike Reilly: Next to Kaiser is former AL/MLB Umpire Mike Reilly. Reilly took to umpiring after a college class on the subject of sports officiating, and worked his way up to the American League in 1977, where he would remain until the leagues merged in 1999. He worked for MLB from 2000-2010 and was not affected by the 1999 bargaining fiasco. Reilly worked 4 All-Star Games (1982, 1993, 2000, 2010), 4 World Series (1984, 1992, 2002, 2007), 9 LCS (1983, 1987, 1991, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2008), and 6 DS (1981, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2007). Though he too missed an important call in Game 2 of the 1992 World Series, and was even featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated after the missed call, Reilly managed to avoid the controversy that has met other umpires after particularly large missed calls (Brocklander, Pallone). Reilly was the UEFL's Umpire of the Year in 2010. He is not the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but he is in the St. Philip Catholic Central Hall of Fame.
Jim Joyce (66): Next to Reilly is Jim Joyce. Like Joe West, he is also a 2011 MLB Umpire. He played baseball at Bowling Green State University in the 1970s, and ultimately joined the AL staff in 1987, where he remained until 1999, and like Reilly, was retained by MLB in 2000. Joyce has worked two All-Star Games (1994, 2001), 2 World Series (1999, 2001), 3 LCS (1997, 2004, 2006, 2007), and 6 DS (1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2009). Like many other umpires, he missed a high profile call on June 2, 2010, during the Indians-Tigers contest. Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga had not allowed a baserunner and was working on a perfect game with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. Indians batter Jason Donald then softly hit a grounder to Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who threw to Galarraga covering first base, as Donald ran by. 1B Umpire Joyce ruled Donald safe, resulting in the first Indians hit. Though Galarraga still earned the complete game shutout, Joyce and his crew were met by an angry Tigers team as they left the field (see Unofficial Ejections: Derryl Cousins (1, 2)). Upon reviewing the play in the umpire's dressing room post-game, Joyce tearfully admitted "it was the biggest call of my career and I [blew] it," , and visited Galarraga to apologize for taking "a perfect game away from that kid over there who worked his # off all night." The incident resulted in tremendous praise for Galarraga, Tigers Manager Jim Leyland, and Joyce, for displaying incredible sportsmanship in the aftermath of the play. Less than two weeks later, Joyce was voted as the best umpire in Major League Baseball, 19% ahead of second-place Tim McClelland. Joyce was the UEFL's Umpire of the Year in 2009. He is not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and is currently part of the 2011 MLB staff, but he is in the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame.