Saturday, April 14, 2007
My baseball life (the short version)
I didn't play little league baseball.
For that matter, I didn't play any organized baseball.
But from the age of 12 I was absolutely obsessed with the game itself. I listened to every Astros game on the radio. I kept score on sheets of paper and saved them and compared my compiled statistics with the stats printed in the Sunday paper. I did this through my high school years. I attended as many games as possible; with my Dad, with friends or by myself.
When I went off to college and didn't make the track team, I tried out for the baseball team. Of course, I didn't have the skills to compete. I then learned that the local umpire chapter needed recruits, so I joined up. Most umps begin their careers doing little league games. My first game -- a junior college game. I didn't have a friggin' clue what I was doing, but I must have performed OK. That was in 1974. I was soon accredited by the State of Texas to umpire high school games and thus began many years of umpiring.
After graduating from college, I wanted to turn professional. I begged my grandmother for the money and off I went to Florida. The Al Somers Umpire School (later became The Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School). Spring training. The instructors were major league and minor league umpires; the best in the business. Very competitive. There were 4 job openings that year (1977) in professional umpiring (minor leagues) and about 200 men going for those positions. There was one female - Pam Postema, the first woman to ever attempt a professional baseball career. After the 6-week course, I finished about in the middle of the class and was sent home.
I umped a number of more years before retiring in 1998 with a bad back. Of course, I did not umpire during my years overseas.
This writing was inspired by Yosickmomma --- I could tell you more but I don't like to make my posts longer than this.
Enjoy your weekend and don't strike out.