Saturday, July 14, 2012

MLB History: A Familiar Conflict of Interest

Baseball, umpires, conflicts of interest and July 14—all are related, but how?

From Jim Joyce's removal from pitcher Armando Galarraga's games following their co-authoring of Nobody's Perfect: Two Men, One Call and a Game for Baseball History in 2011 to PBUC Executive Director Justin Klemm's controversial banishment of the competing Jim Evans Academy for Professional Umpiring for a bowling party-gone horribly wrong in February 2012, the umpiring conflict of interest is real and plainly apparent—and all sports officials know of and detest hearing about the biggest officiating conflict of interest in professional sports history, basketball's Tim Donaghy fiasco.

Who wants a bobblehead? I do!
Yet of all conflicts of interest, none is as familiar as the famous umpire-player brotherly relationship of Jim and Randy Wolf. Though officially barred from working the plate for his brother's games, Jim served as home plate umpire during a Spring Training contest in 2008 that featured brother Randy on the mound. It didn't help, though, as Randy's Padres lost to the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-2. Randy himself surrendered three runs in as many innings pitched.

In 2003, Jim, then a Triple-A call-up umpire, officiated a Marlins-Dodgers series while brother Randy was on the Philadelphia Phillies, who were competing with the Marlins for the NL wild card. Succinctly, the Phillies were rooting for Florida to lose and Los Angeles to win.

Marlins lefty Mark Redman used this fact to imply an ulterior motive behind some of Jim's California calls while Randy was in Philly: "I guarantee that crosses every player's mind." Crew chief Larry Young defended Jim: "He doesn't perceive it to be a problem, and I do not, either."

Good news, too, considering—again—Jim was working a game 3,000 miles away from his brother, Randy.

Why the discussion? Well, July 14 is a landmark day in the world of family umpiring, for on July 14, 1972, umpire Bill Haller and brother Tom made history. A catcher with the Detroit Tigers, Tom worked in front of Bill during a Tigers-Royals game in what would be the first and only brother ump-catcher game in MLB history.

And if you're wondering about Bill Haller, he is the first base umpire featured and mic-ed up for a classic Earl Weaver argument and ejection during a late-season game—in the top of the first inning, nonetheless.

The following Bill Haller photographs were graciously submitted to the UEFL


Cricket said...

Dale Scott just tossed Terry Collins in Mets-Braves.

Incorrect initial call; conference fixed the call and properly awarded bases. Collins ejected afterwards. Stupid, useless toss.

Anonymous said...

Cricket- what if Collins said he wanted to be ejected? Would that be stupid and many parents yelled at you tonight?

Cricket said...

@Anon 10:34...

What are you talking about? You have clearly misinterpreted my statement, granted, it was somewhat ambiguous. However, you have obviously not read my posts on this website for the last 2+ years or you would understand my viewpoints.

Collins' has no reason to get himself tossed there. Everyone in the park saw the ball hit the ground except Dale Scott.

And why a completely unnecessary and immature personal attack?

Anonymous said...

My fault, I thought you were saying Scott's toss was stupid and useless. If that was case, I figured you were just another youth league umpire that was once again second guessing. I don't take note of poster's names but have been on this site since the cascremindude times.

Anonymous said...

Wonder why Haller was miked for that game????????? Seems odd. Why doesn't someone enlighten us?????

Anonymous said...

The best mic'ed up ever. Absolutely great all-around argument.

Cricket said...

I believe Haller was being mic'd and filmed for a documentary about umpires. I don't know if it was ever completed.

Anonymous said...

Controversial ? Yeah the KKK is good? To have Wolf and Haller in the same story is a Joke. And Klemm is a good dude.

drjjulius said...

I spoke with Bill Haller a couple weeks back. He was watching a game that I was umpiring as he lives nearby. What an interesting guy! I had a great time listening to his stories...and he was wearing a 1968 World Series ring from when he umpired. I got some photos if you want to see them. He told me about the Earl Weaver conflict. He was, indeed, mic'd up for a documentary that night. They got an earful. Bill had some classic lines for good ole' Earl.

Big Marc said...

Yep, post the pictures Dr.J.

If you see Haller again, ask him what happened the next night when he worked the plate? Not sure, but did he get Weaver at ground rules? There is a Weaver at ground rule story, only makes sense it would happen the next night, but Like I said, not sure.

Oh, great story Dr.J.

Big Marc said...

Gil or Jeremy,
I tried to go to to obtain the info for Weaver.

My Norton refuses to allow me to visit. It is detecting a Mal-cookie. When you 1st posted the website I had zero issues. I'm not asking for computer help, I know what to do.
Someone is clearly now tracking vistors to that site, any ideas? Not who, but why? When a site becomes popular or after certain number of visitors, is this the norm? To start agressively tracking? More of a slice of life, as you guys run a website. Of course, I maybe totally lost, and off base, I never discount that.

Gil Imber said...

Retrosheet uses the Extreme Tracking service v.1.0, which is out of date and listed as "not stable." The website started in 1998 and retro- still links to "" with a redirect on extreme's server-side to the www. address. Perhaps that's where the bad cookie is from?

In any case, Weaver wasn't ejected the next day, though Haller did get him back-to-back on July 9/10, 1976: Arguing a check swing call (1B) on the 9th and balls and strikes (HP) on the 10th.

Weaver's famous ground rules/lineup card ejection came on 8/15/75, when Ron Luciano dumped Weaver during the pre-game conference prior to Game 2 of a double header. Luciano had also tossed Weaver for arguing a play at first base during Game 1.

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