If, as Gorman suggests, the best umps are invisible, say hello to Jim McKean of the American League. The American League's Butler, who has overseen league umps since 1969, says of McKean, "He has the best attitude of any umpire I've ever had." McKean, 38, is a cheerful fellow, a former quarterback in the Canadian Football League, now in his 12th year in the majors. "If it seems that we're willing to take less, it may be because we're getting more," he contends. "We may have changed, but I think the players have changed, too. They don't have quite as much respect for umpires as they used to. I think I can say that as mad as I've wanted to get, I've never lost control of a situation. I'm a good policeman."
It's hard to say John McSherry isn't noticed in the National League because at 6'2½", 300 pounds he makes your average sumo wrestler look like Freddie Patek. But he's also vastly underrated. "He would be in our top five," says league supervisor Blake Cullen, "but we have to knock him down for appearance. He's like a big, friendly cop on the beat."
"We make mistakes," says officer McSherry. "But when we make a mistake, it's like the mistake a cop makes out on the street in the middle of the night. You can't know what it's like until you're out there."
True enough, but it certainly wouldn't hurt the umpires in both leagues to check out those nine rules of deportment once in a while. Every home plate needs to be brushed off occasionally.