"The female mind will not work that fast. The female mind will not have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the guff that these players would give them. And when I say intestinal fortitude, I mean a four-letter word called guts."
Richie Powers says in Overtime!, "I always tell young officials in the NBA that they ought to use polysyllabic words whenever possible during their debates with players and coaches. Polysyllabic words not only command prompt attention but, in the heat of the moment, can often leave people speechless."
Bill Klem was the umpire in a Giant-Phillie game of April 25, 1913. The score was tied 0-0 in the 10th with no one out and Fred Merkle on third for the Giants. Moose McCormick was sent in to pinch-hit for the pitcher, and as he stepped to the plate, Klem turned to announce him to the crowd. Grover Cleveland Alexander, not noticing this, threw a fastball, McCormick lined it safely to left and Merkle trotted home with the winning run. Klem kept on announcing the new batter. McCormick went to the clubhouse, undressed and got in the shower. Klem went after him and told him he had not finished his introduction when McCormick had swung. Therefore the ball had not been in play. Klem returned and finished his introduction. Merkle was sent back to third. McCormick, dried and dressed, returned and swung again. He grounded to first, and the first baseman threw Merkle out at the plate. The game was called after 11 innings on account of darkness. The score was still 0-0.
This is still the only recorded instance in the major leagues of a winning run being nullified because an umpire's back was turned.
About 15 years ago, Gordie Howe skated over to a referee, Frank Udvari, and told him, "Frank, you're the second-best referee in the league." Before Udvari could ask him who the best was, Howe added, "All the rest are tied for No. 1."
Jim Howell, the first black man to officiate an NCAA basketball championship game, quit refereeing in the middle of last season. He had been an official for 13 years and was only 35—at the top of his profession. Howell quit after he worked the Maryland- North Carolina game, which the Tarheels won 95-93. In the last seconds, a Maryland player tripped over a Carolina player on a fast break. No foul was called. Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell charged Howell's partner. The Maryland fans shouted obscenities at the refs.
"The coaches and players, you can control them," Howell says. "You have the technical foul to use. But I was tired of the constant abuse after games. I was afraid I might try to retaliate. Coaches control the crowds, they set the atmosphere. A lot of them seem to think referees are cheating them. No official willfully cheats somebody.
Apparently there was a foul on the last-second play. "We just never saw it," Howell says. "If it happened, it should have been a foul. But even if we missed it, I don't think the world should come to an end."