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August 27, 1956
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August 27, 1956

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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Congratulations on your fine article, for it emphasizes the fact that umpires are only human, and even though they make mistakes they do what they think is right.
Jackson, Mich.

I read your magazine each week and I think quite a bit of it, but this article makes me unhappy.

Take a look at the caption above the picture on page 27. It says "BAD YEAR FOR THE UMPIRES." This article doesn't help the arbiter a bit, either.

I fault Umpire Stratton for the story, too. I am only 23, but I have been in this racket as a semipro and professional for six years. Maybe I'm not qualified to be at odds with a man who has been in the profession for many more years than I, but why should I jeopardize what peace the umpire has by saying the official intentionally blows plays. Maybe the players in the Pacific Coast League won't jump on him, but players in semipro ball and the lower minors around the country spend half their time looking for some excuse to land right square in the middle of the umpire.

I disagree, too, with the classification of ballplayers set forth by Mr. Stratton. He left out the largest and most disagreeable group—the alibi men. The guy who takes a pitch right down the gut and turns around and tells you that you are blind far outnumbers the chronic beefer, the cold calculator or the fellow who is actually mad. He's the kind who will latch on to an article like this and tear into you the next time he doesn't pull the trigger on a gut ball or fails to slide into a bag.

I disagree with Umpire Stratton on a number of other items, too. The day that a man who clobbers a home run stops running around the bases will be the day baseball dies in this country. The triumphal jog around the bases is as much a part of the game as the home run itself. The game is halted for only 15 seconds. If this is too much time, then there isn't time to play the game, anyway.

If Mr. Stratton is so disgruntled with the wages paid in pro ball why doesn't he go back to television and forget the game of baseball exists? I hope that someday I will hit the big time. When I do I feel sure that I will survive on a measly $15,000 a year, considering the league pays all my expenses.

Umpiring is an honorable profession. It is a profession made up of 100% honest men. But if the low standards and abuse continue unchecked, something will have to give. When the umpires fail to measure up, then baseball as a game will fail to meet the high standards of the past. Thus I say to you—protect your officials, don't browbeat them.
Kearney, Neb.

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