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BAD YEAR FOR THE UMPIRES
Gil Stratton, Jr.
August 06, 1956
It has been a hard year for umpires in the National League. While few of the rhubarbs originated over the "decently negligent" calls described here by Umpire Stratton, there nevertheless have been some striking imbroglios. For example:
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August 06, 1956

Bad Year For The Umpires

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It has been a hard year for umpires in the National League. While few of the rhubarbs originated over the "decently negligent" calls described here by Umpire Stratton, there nevertheless have been some striking imbroglios. For example:

IN ST. LOUIS: Perhaps the season's worst call came in a Cardinals-Giants game on July 13 when two umpires differed on a line drive hit to a Giant outfielder. One ruled it was caught. In the same instant another ump ruled it wasn't. Confusion settled on the field. A hasty conference ruled it a base hit. The Giants were horrified. A second hasty conference ruled the ball was trapped. Virtually nobody went away happy.

IN BROOKLYN: First Baseman Rocky Nelson reached into the stands on June 16 for an easy catch of a foul ball. First Base Umpire Lee Ballanfant ruled the ball was caught. Milwaukee protested. The plate umpire conferred with Ballanfant and the decision was reversed....

IN PITTSBURGH: During a four-game series between the Pirates and the Giants at the end of June a record of sorts was established for rhubarbs and player ejections. Each umpire threw out at least one player. The final count: four Giants and two Pirates....

IN NEW YORK: Umpire Stan Landes set the season's peak for mass removals on May 21. When he was unable to locate the player needling him all afternoon, Landes cleared the entire Cardinal bench of everyone except two coaches and the bat boy....

IN CHICAGO: The usually mild-mannered Robin Roberts was thrown out of a game for the first time in his nine-year major league career on June 8....

The rhubarb situation reached a kind of a peak a week ago when Cardinal General Manager Frank Lane cried out, as one of his players was being chased from a game, "I say that umpire should pay his way into a ball park." Unmoved by such insinuations, National League President Warren Giles has offered a simple explanation for all the fuss. "Of course there have been more player ejections this year. Every strike, every ball means more because of the tightness of the race. The umpires are more tense and so are the players. History shows that there are more ejections at times like these."

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