Baseball is a simple game played by nine, managed by one, and kept under control by an umpire. An unattributable quotation summed up the profession nicely with, "It's the only occupation where a man has to be perfect on Opening Day and improve as the season goes on."
During one of those seasons, Hall of Fame Manager Casey Stengel actually became so enraged that he laid on the ground and continued yelling at umpire Beans Reardon — who after a few moments laid next to Stengel and yelled back. Stengel recalled the incident, "When I peeked out of one eye and saw Reardon on the ground too, I knew I was licked."
"The thing that surprised me most in baseball is the amount of integrity that most umpires have. It actually took me a while to believe what a good game they'd give you the next night after a blow-up." - Earl Weaver
"Strike Three!" and I jump.
I'm in a big slump.
I'm down in the dump,
Can't get over this hump.
You cross-eyed old ump,
You're as blind as a stump.
Made me look like a chump,
You horse's rump!
by Charles Ghigna ©
Makin' The Call
In 1882 the American Association payed four regular umpires a $140 monthly salary, gave them $3 per diem and requested them to take an oath of honesty.
During the National Association (1871-1875) and early years of the National League umpires were hard to find as illustrated by this Al Spalding quote, "To secure the presence of intelligent, honest, unprejudiced, quick witted, courageous umpires at all contests in scheduled games has been one of the most vexatious problems confronting those in control of our national sport."
There were many early incidents where players literally attacked umpires. In 1927, Commissioner Landis required a ninety-day suspension for any such attack and in 1940 it was changed to a one year suspension.