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Received 7/23/2014
1 When Did Umpires Start Callin !alls and Stri"es#
Richard $ersh%erer
When did &mpires start callin %alls and stri"es# 'his miht seem a trivial (&estion. 'he
r&le allo)in the &mpire to call stri"es )as instit&ted *or the 1+,+ season- )hile that *or
callin %alls )as introd&ced )ith the season o* 1+.4. 'hat is )hat the r&les said. 'he
realit/ in practice )as di**erent.
'he centerpiece o* modern %ase%all is the d&el %et)een the pitcher and the %atter. 'his
d&el didn0t e1ist in earl/ %ase%all. 'he ame )as seen as a contest %et)een the %atter
and %ase r&nners on the one side and the *ielders on the other. 'he pitcher0s role )as to
p&t the %all in pla/ *or the %atter to hit. 'he %atter )as not re(&ired to s)in at an/ pitch-
%&t i* he s)&n at and missed three pitches- the %all )as in pla/ as i* it had %een hit into
*air territor/ 2)ith the %atter o&t i* the %all )as ca&ht %/ the catcher3.
'his s/stem relied on t)o ass&mptions4 that the pitcher )o&ld pitch %alls that co&ld
reasona%l/ %e hit- and that the %atter )o&ld s)in at these pitches. 5either ass&mption
s&rvived the competitive ca&ldron o* the *irst *l&sh o* %ase%all *ever in the 1+,0s.
!alls ettin past the catcher )ere a re&lar *eat&re o* the era- lon %e*ore catchers
)ore mitts or an/ protective e(&ipment. Some %atters too" advantae o* this )hen
r&nners )ere on %ase )ith the 6)aitin ame7 o* simpl/ re*&sin to s)in at an/ pitch-
"no)in that event&all/ the %all )o&ld et past the catcher and the r&nner co&ld
advance. 'he r&les ma"ers responded to this in 1+,+ %/ adaptin the e1istin concept
o* the s)inin stri"e- and allo)in the &mpire to call a stri"e sho&ld the %atter re*&se to
s)in at ood pitches4
'his 8ne) r&le9 is a ver/ ood one- and )ill- i* strictl/ en*orced %/ &mpires- e**ect a desira%le re*orm. :t
)ill do a)a/ )ith the s/stem ver/ m&ch in vo&e the last t)o seasons- o* stri"er re*&sin all %alls
thro)n them &ntil the second %ase )as cleared. 5e) ;or" <erc&r/ <a/ =- 1+,+
'he *lip side to this )as to *orce the pitcher to thro) hitta%le %alls. 'he motivation *or not
doin this )as a *ashion in the earl/ 1+.0s *or thro)in as hard as possi%le- at the
e1pense o* acc&rac/. 5or )as the )ildness necessaril/ tho&ht a *ailin- i* the %atter
)as intimidated or ind&ced to s)in at a %ad pitch o&t o* *r&stration4
S)i*t pitchers have apparentl/ rearded it as the ver/ acme o* s"ill in s)i*t pitchin to intimidate the
%atsman as m&ch as possi%le- and there%/ so clo&d his >&dment as to ind&ce him to %at at %alls he
cannot hit. 5e) ;or" S&nda/ <erc&r/ <arch 2- 1+.4
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!oth %alls and called stri"es )ere in the r&le %oo" %/ 1+.4. <an/ modern )riters
ass&me that is that4 that )hile the details )o&ld chane over the ens&in decades- the
essential *eat&res o* called stri"es and %ases on %alls )ere a *eat&re o* the ame *rom
1+.4 on)ard. 'his is not the case. :n act&al practice- &mpires initiall/ )ere ver/
rel&ctant to call %alls and stri"es.
'he evidence is thin *or called stri"es in the si1 seasons previo&s to 1+.4. :t is even
thinner *or a called third stri"e res&ltin in an o&t. : "no) o* no e1plicit e1ample o* either.
$ere )e have a criticism o* an &mpire that s&ests he )as callin stri"es4
8?c"*ord vs. Union o* ?li@a%eth =/10/1+.09 'he Umpire- <r. A. Wellin- acted his part satis*actoril/-
e1cept in one important part. $e sho&ld have called o&t the stri"es and *o&l %alls in a lo&d voice. Bn
&mpire sho&ld al)a/s ive his decisions promptl/- and call *o&l %alls and stri"es distinctl/- so that all
ma/ hear. 5e) ;or" Clipper Septem%er 22- 1+.0
:t )as important that the &mpire call *o&l %alls lo&dl/ %eca&se %ase r&nners needed this
in*ormation. :t is harder to see )h/ it )o&ld %e important to call s)inin stri"es lo&dl/-
as an/one )ith e/es co&ld see that it )as a stri"e. 'he implication then is that he )as
callin stri"es- %&t not lo&dl/ eno&h *or ever/one to hear 2and )ith hand sinals *ar in
the *&t&re3. ?ven s&ch an indirect cl&e is rare. <&ch more common is the o%servation
that stri"es are not %ein called4
Section 37 o* the r&les 8allo)in *or called stri"es9 is a deal letter... Bain- )hen a stri"e has stood at
the home %ase lon eno&h to allo) a do@en %alls- not plainl/ o&t o* reach- to pass him- he sho&ld at
once %e made to declare )here he )ants a %all- and the *irst %all that comes )ithin the distance
pointed o&t- i* not str&c" at- sho&ld %e declared one stri"e- the second- t)o stri"es- and the third- three.
:* this )ere done- a stop )o&ld at once %e p&t to the &nmanl/ and mean 6)aitin ame7 *re(&entl/
pla/ed- and the ca&se o* m&ch &npleasantness removed. C&t o* all the matches )e have reported this
season )e have /et to see the Umpire havin moral co&rae eno&h to call stri"es on a %atsman )ho
)il*&ll/ %rea"s the 37th r&le o* the ame. 5e) ;or" Clipper Septem%er 2=- 1+.0
'here )ere hih hopes in 1+.4 *or the ne) r&le. 'he potential *or a %ase on %alls
)o&ld %alance the potential *or a stri"eo&t. 'his %alance )o&ld- it )as tho&ht- ma"e
&mpires more )illin to call stri"es4
$itherto- &mpires have re*rained *rom callin stri"es on %atsmen- )ho have re*&sed to stri"e at ood
%alls- %eca&se there has %een nothin to o**set the advantae th&s iven to the pitcherD there %ein
no r&le hitherto )here%/ the &mpire co&ld in*lict a penalt/ on the pitcher as )ell as the %atsman- *or
his &n*air practices. 'his ne) r&le remedies this evil- and no) )e shall- no do&%t- see %oth %atsmen
and pitchers "ept do)n to their leitimate )or" %/ the threat o* imposin the penalties the r&les no)
in*lict &pon %oth parties. 5e) ;or" S&nda/ <erc&r/ <arch 2- 1+.4
Several ames earl/ in the season )ere care*&ll/ set &p )ith a handEselected &mpire to
demonstrate the ne) r&le4
8a practice ame o* the Btlantics o* !roo"l/n ,/,/1+.49 'he ne) r&le- too- in re*erence to callin %alls
on pitchers )ho *ail to pitch *air %allsFvi@.4 s&ch as are over the home %ase- and *or the stri"er- )as
strictl/ o%served- and %alls )ere called on all the pitchers- incl&din Spra&e- Aratt- and Chapman.
'he )a/ it )as done )as this4 'he &mpire- in Spra&e0s case- seein that )hile standin s(&are on
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the ro&nd to deliver the %all he )o&ld not pitch straihtl/ and acc&ratel/- too- )arned him that he )as
lia%le to inc&r the penalt/ named in section . o* the r&les- &nless he pitched %alls *or the stri"er- and
as near as possi%le over the home %ase- a*ter he had pitched t)o or three %alls o&t o* the leitimate
reach o* the %atsman- called *irst one %allD and the ne1t time a %all )as pitched so nearl/ as to to&ch
the %atsman- or o&t o* his reach- t)o and three %alls- and then ordered the stri"er to ta"e his *irst
%ase. 'his en*orcement o* the r&le led to *air pitchin- and then %ean *&ll pla/ *or the *ielders and a
livel/ and interestin ame. 5e) ;or" Clipper <a/ 14- 1+.4
Con*&sion soon set in- as pla/ers and &mpires tried to &nderstand this strane ne) r&le4
8?c"*ord vs. the *ield in a practice ame- ./7/1+.49 'he ?c"*ords *irst )ent to the %at- and %/ a
mista"e o* the &mpire- )ho called %alls on the pitcher )hen he sho&ld simpl/ have called %a&l"s- their
*irst stri"er had to ta"e his *irst %ase. !roo"l/n ?ale G&ne +- 1+.4
8?mpire vs. Bctive ./11/1+.49 'he ?mpire and Bctive match on Sat&rda/ at $o%o"en t&rned o&t to %e
a ver/ sin&lar contest- it %ein made so %/ the ver/ novel interpretation o* r&le si1 %/ <c<ahon o*
the <&t&al- )ho acted as &mpire on the occasion. Hrom the *irst to the last innins he called %alls on
the pitcher ever/ time he *ailed to deliver the %all e1actl/ to the spot the stri"er pointed o&tD and also-
)hen the stri"er *ailed on his part to stri"e at the *irst %all that came to him )here he had said he
)anted it- he called stri"es on him- his decisions thro&ho&t %ein thoro&hl/ impartial and consistent
)ith his pec&liar de*inition o* the r&le.!roo"l/n ?ale G&ne 13- 1+.4
Soon- pla/ers and &mpires ave &p and simpl/ inored the r&les4
8Btlantics vs. <&t&als ./27/1+.49 !all a*ter %all )as delivered on %oth sides /esterda/ that )ere
&n(&estiona%l/ &n*air- %ein entirel/ o&t o* reach o* the %atsmen. 'he stri"ers too- especiall/
<cIever- )ere allo)ed altoether too m&ch latit&de- altho&h it )o&ld not have %een *air to have
made them pa/ the penalt/ o* &n*air pla/ )hile the pitchers )ere not p&nished *or their errors.
!roo"l/n ?ale G&ne 2+- 1+.4
8?mpire vs. Btlantic 7/=/1+.49 'he decisions o* the &mpire )ere characteristicall/ *air and impartial-
%&t he erred in inorin the si1th section o* the r&lesFthe pitchers on %oth sides ta"in advantae o*
his la1it/ in this respect to tr/ their hands at the old st/le o* tr/in to intimidate the %atsman- %/
pitchin at him- instead o* *or himFAratt especiall/. Cn this acco&nt- the ame )as lenthened nearl/
an ho&r- and m&ch ood *ieldin lost siht o*. 5e) ;or" S&nda/ <erc&r/ G&l/ 10- 1+.4
'he *ollo)in season )as hoped to %rin a *resh start and revivi*/ the r&le4
'he r&le that )ill %e o%served in re*erence to the en*orcement o* *air pitchin %/ Umpires is as
*ollo)s4 When the ame commences- the Umpire- a*ter ma"in s&ch allo)ance *or accidental errors
in pitchin- as enerall/ mar" the openin pla/ o* a ame- )ill- )itho&t appeal- call J%all to the %at-0
a*ter )hich notice- sho&ld the pitcher Jrepeatedl/0 *ail to deliver *air %alls to the %at- vi@4 t)ice or three
timesFthen the Umpire shall call Jone %all-0 and i* the pitcher persists in s&ch actionFthat is- delivers
one or t)o &n*air %alls directl/ a*ter s&ch )arnin- t)o or three %alls m&sh %e - and the pla/er iven
his %ase. Kess latit&de is to %e allo)ed this season than last- and the c&stom o* ta"in the opinion o*
the respective nines as to the deree o* latit&de to %e allo)ed the pitcher- )ill %e entirel/ done a)a/
)ith- as a practice adverse ali"e to the interests o* the ame and the r&les o* the 5ational Bssociation.
Ahiladelphia Cit/ :tem Bpril +- 1+.,
'here )as some limited s&ccess4
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8Bthletics vs. Unions o* <orrisania ./14/1+.,9 Hran" 8Aideon- &mpire9 called stri"es )hen an/
evidences o* 6)aitin7 )ere sho)n- and called a 6%a&l"7 on each pitcher. 'hat .th r&le )ants
en*orcin a little and it )ill ma"e the di**erence o* an ho&r in a ame. !roo"l/n Dail/ ?ale G&ne 1,-
1+.,
<r. Lalvin acted as Umpire- and made a most e1cellent man in that position. $e did not hesitate to
call stri"es and %alls on %oth cl&%s- and in three instances ave %ases on %alls )idel/ pitched.
!roo"l/n Dail/ ?ale B&&st 7- 1+.,
!&t occasions *or s&ch praise )ere rare. Loin into the 1+.. season the campain )as
rene)ed. 'he old Inic"er%oc"er cl&% ave the r&le their endorsement thro&h the
remar"a%le *act that the/ called %alls and stri"es even in practice ames4
'he Inic"er%oc"ers pla/ %all in the spirit it o&ht to %e pla/ed- and not as i* it )as an important
%&siness- to %e attended to as a %&siness. Bnother thin )e notice- and in this as in other respects
their e1ample sho&ld %e *ollo)ed- and that is- that even in their practiceEames the/ pla/ accordin to
the strict r&les o* the ame- %alls %ein called *or &n*air deliver/- and stri"es *or *ail&re to %at at ood
%alls- as promptl/ as i* the/ )ere enaed in a re&lar match. 'his is the riht )a/ to practice- even
*or 6the *&n o* the thin-7 as the sa/in is. 5e) ;or" S&nda/ <erc&r/ <a/ 13- 1+..
'he practice rad&all/ spread to the eneral %ase%all *raternit/- and )ith the season o*
1+.. called %alls and stri"es %ean4
8Btlantic vs. Aeconic ./1+/1+..9 Hor the *irst time this season- an UmpireMit )as <r. C&mmins-
o* the ?nterpriseMper*ormed his )hole d&t/. $e "ept %oth pitcher and stri"er closel/ to their
%&siness- callin %alls and stri"es promptl/ and at the same time "eepin a "een e/e to the *ield and
%ases.
<r. C&mmins deserves the than"s o* all %ase %all pla/ers- and it is to %e hoped his e1ample )ill
%e *ollo)edMit cannot %e improved onM%/ other Umpires in *&t&re matches. C)in to his r&lins-
the ame )as short- livel/ and interestin- as all ames sho&ld and ma/ %e. !roo"l/n ?ale G&ne 1=-
1+..
:t is )ith the season o* 1+.. that called %alls and stri"es %ein to lose the air o* %ein
remar"a%le e1ceptions. 'he novelt/ o* the %ase %all on %alls is sho)n %/ instances
)here %atters re*&sed to ta"e *irst %ase. :t didn0t seem li"e a leitimate and honora%le
part o* the ame4
8Union o* <orrisania vs. S&rprise ,/1=/1+..9 We )o&ld s&est to Aa%or- that in the *&t&re- he drop
s&ch %o/ish pla/ as that o* re*&sin to ta"e his %ase on three %alls. $e )o&ld not hesitate to ta"e his
%ase on three stri"es or on a missed catch- %oth o* )hich are discredita%le to the pla/ o* the %atsman-
)hereas- %o/Eli"e- he re*&sed to ta"e his %ase on three %alls- )hich is not discredita%le to the
%atsman. 'he r&le in this case sa/s that the pla/er 6shall7 ta"e his %ase on three %alls. Smith acted
ver/ properl/ in r&nnin his %ase *or him. Bnother s&ch act sho&ld lead to his %ein p&t o** the nine
*or diso%edience o* orders. 5e) ;or" S&nda/ <erc&r/ <a/ 27- 1+..
8?&re"a o* 5e)ar" vs. Union o* <orrisania ./12/1+..9 !rientnall opened pla/ in the *i*th innin and
)as sent to his *irstE%ase on three %alls- and- as &s&al- he too" the %ase ver/ rel&ctantl/. 'here
appears to %e considera%le o%>ection to ta"in a %ase on three %alls on the part o* pla/ers- and in this
the/ sho) %oth a lac" o* sense and reat inconsistenc/ o* cond&ct. 'here is not a pla/er )ho- the
moment a %all is missed on the %o&nd on the third stri"e- )on0t r&n as *ast as he can *or his %ase- and
he )ill r&n >&st as earl/ *or it and ta"e it readil/ on a missed *l/catch *rom a poor hit- and /et )ill ma"e
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a *&ss a%o&t ta"in a %ase on three %alls. :n the *irst place a %ase made either on the third stri"e or a
missed catch *rom a poor hit is reall/ a discredit to the %atsman- and he )o&ld %e riht in *eelin
ashamed o* itD %&t there is no discredit in ta"in a %ase on three %alls- and )e hope to see the %o/ish
o%>ection sho)n %/ pla/ers in this respect done a)a/ )ith. 5e) ;or" S&nda/ <erc&r/ G&ne 17- 1+..
We also arrive at the *irst "no)n instance o* the %atter ar&in a called stri"e4
8?c"*ord vs. Bctive +/22/1+..9 :n the ninth innin- )hen Ilein )ent to the %at- three r&ns had %een
scored- there%/ ma"in the score a tie- and !each )as on the *irstE%ase. Ilein had previo&sl/ str&c"
o&t t)ice- and )as 6"inder riled7 at his illEl&c". !ein over partic&lar in selectin a %all to stri"e at- and
havin str&c" once )itho&t e**ect- and re*&sin to stri"e at a ood %all- the &mpireFas he had
impartiall/ done )ith one o* the Bctives the previo&s inninFcalled a 6stri"e7 on him- )here&pon Ilein
t&rned ro&nd to the &mpire and remar"ed to him that he 6)asn0t oin to stand an/ o* his nonsense
an/ moreN7 5ot %ein )illin to s&%mit to this "ind o* tal"- <r. Roers called 6'imeN7 as"ed )ho )as
the ?c"*ord Captain- and at once in(&ired o* him )hether he )as satis*ied )ith his
decisionF6%eca&se- i* /o& are not-7 said <r. Roers- 6: )ant /o& to et another &mpire.7 !each as"ed
him )hat the tro&%le )as- and Ilein ans)erin- said- 6: )ant a %all here- and he calls stri"es )hen
the/ are there-7 %oth times indicatin the spot )here he )anted a %all. !each- instead o* tellin Ilein
to "eep silent- as sho&ld have done- co&ntenanced him 8in (&estionin the9 decision o* the &mpire %/
tellin him to )ait &ntil he ot a ood %all to hit. <r. Roers- not content )ith this- aainst as"ed
!each )hether he )as satis*ied )ith his decisions or not- !each repla/in to the e**ect that he had
not seen an/ one disp&tin them. Hinall/- the cro)d s&stainin the &mpire- he retained his positionD
and the ne1t %all Ilein str&c" o&t- the cro)d reetin his %ein p&t o&t )ith appla&se. 5e) ;or"
S&nda/ <erc&r/ B&&st 2.- 1+..
'his rel&ctance to ta"e a %ase on %alls did indeed pass4 *irst %ase is *irst %ase. !&t its
vestie can still %e seen in the traditional &se o* %attin averae rather than onE%ase
percentae to meas&re a %atter0s per*ormance.
While called %alls and stri"es )ere %/ 1+.. no loner e1ceptional- neither )o&ld it %e
&n&s&al *or several /ears- into the pro*essional era- *or the &mpire to re*&se to call them-
or to call them o*ten4
8Union o* <orrisania vs. S&rprise ,/1=/1+..9 C&t o* a%o&t a h&ndred &n*airl/Epitched %alls d&rin the
ame- onl/ t)ice did the &mpire ive the stri"er his %ase on 6three %alls7. Wh/ do not &mpires inore
callin %alls and stri"es altoether- and also %al"s. 'he/ miht as )ell %rea" the r&le in one instance
as in another. 5e) ;or" S&nda/ <erc&r/ <a/ 27- 1+..
8Unions o* <orrisania vs. :rvintons 7/2/1+.79 'he &mpire- <r. <cIeller- o* the $arlem Cl&%- )as the
most silent man on the *ield- and "ept his place )hile %all a*ter %all )as sent in the )ildest "ind o*
st/le- a%o&t as apt to hit the stri"er or o %ehind him- as over the %ase. 5e) ;or" Dispatch G&l/ 7-
1+.7
8<&t&al vs. :rvinton ./1/1+.=9 <r. 5elson impartiall/ dischared his d&ties as &mpire- %&t he la%ors
&nder the same mista"e as others do in his constr&ction o* the r&les in callin %alls and stri"es. Hor
instance- a*ter e1pressl/ statin to the pitcher )here the stri"er )anted a %all- i* %alls )ere sent in
close to the %atsman- over his head- or o&t o* his leitimate reach- he )o&ld call o&t- 6over the %ase-7
6Let them do)n-7 or call o&t aain and aain )here the %all sho&ld %e pitched. 5o) this st/le o* thin
is not onl/ in direct opposition to the r&les- %&t is pla/in into the hands o* the pitchers. Bn/ %all not
)ithin the leitimate reach o* the %at is no) re(&ired to %e called a*ter d&e )arnin has once %een
iven the pitcher. When the pitcher sends in a hih %all- the &mpire- instead o* callin o&t to him to
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6et them do)n7 or to 6pitch lo)er-7 sho&ld promptl/ call %alls. :n reard to stri"es- more latit&de is
allo)ed- no stri"e %ein permitted to %e called &nless the stri"er is previo&sl/ )arned- and then- even
i* m&st %e apparent that he is )il*&ll/ re*&sin to stri"e. 5ational Chronicle G&ne 12- 1+.=
8$arvard vs. Btlantic +/12/1+709 <r. $at*ield )as elected &mpire- and altho&h he ave eneral
satis*action- he seems to s&**er- li"e man/ others in a similar position- *rom a disinclination to call
6%alls7 or 6stri"es-7 as the r&les direct. :t is onl/ *air to a ood pitcher- that the r&le sho&ld %e strictly
enforced, other)ise an immediate and decided advantae is iven to the side )hose pitcher is not so
care*&l or e**ective. ... 8'he &mpire9 is not there to ive his idea on the s&%>ect- %&t to *&l*ill his d&ties
as prescri%ed %/ the r&les o* the convention. 5e) ;or" S&nda/ Dispatch B&&st 14- 1+70
8Chicao vs. Bthletic 10/30/1+719 'he &mpire allo)ed %oth the pitchers *&ll pla/ *or strate/ %/ his
*ail&re to p&nish )ide %alls. Whatever option an &mpire ma/ have in reard to callin %alls )hich are
)ithin the %atsman0s reach- and /et not over the homeEplate or as the %atsman calls *or- he has no
choice %&t to call ever/ %all )hich is o&t o* the leitimate reach o* the %at- vi@.- all those %alls )hich
are en&merated &nder the head o* 6&n*air7 %alls- the r&les e1pressl/ re(&irin the &mpire to call all
s&ch %alls 6in the order o* their deliver/.7 5e) ;or" S&nda/ <erc&r/ 5ovem%er ,- 1+71
8!altimore vs. <&t&al ,/4/1+729 Bll )ere s&rprised at Her&son0s &mpirin. Several times he allo)ed
)ide %alls to %e delivered &ncalled in direct violation o* the r&les- and he )as altoether too lenient in
callin stri"ers. Umpires have no riht to %e >&des o* the la)- or to decide other)ise than %/ the
letter o* the r&les. Her&son o&ht to %e %etter posted. Bll 6&n*air7 %alls m&st %e called )henever
delivered. 5e) ;or" S&nda/ <erc&r/ <a/ ,- 1+72
Bnd- pro%a%l/ inevita%l/- as &mpires re) more )illin to ma"e these calls- the/ )ere
critici@ed *or it4
8Cincinnati vs. Union o* Kansin%&rh ./7/1+.=9 'he contest *rom this point )as chie*l/ interestin
*rom the heav/ %attin on %oth sides- and the constant callin o* %alls and ivin o* %ases %/ the
&mpire- )ho seemed disposed to pla/ the ame himsel*- instead o* allo)in the pla/ers that privilee.
'hirteen times on the Union side the pla/ers )ere iven their *irst %ase- and *o&r times on the
Cincinnati side- and this- ta"en in connection )ith the heav/ %attin- ran &p the score to larer *i&res
than )e are acc&stomed to seein in championship matches. 5e) ;or" S&nda/ Dispatch G&ne 13-
1+.=
8!oston vs. Cl/mpic o* Washinton ,/,/1+719 <r. Do%son &mpired the ame in an impartial manner-
and claimed he did so in accordance )ith the r&les. $e *ollo)ed the letter- %&t s&rel/ not the spirit o*
the la). 5o pitcher in the co&ntr/ can %e e1pected to pitch ever/ %all over the plate- nor m&st the
%atsman %e e1pected to hit at ever/ %all so pitched. 'here m&st %e some latit&de allo)ed or the
)hole %ea&t/ o* the ame is destro/ed. 5e) ;or" S&nda/ <erc&r/ <a/ 7- 1+71
So ret&rnin to the oriinal (&estion- there is no entirel/ satis*actor/ ans)er. 'he sa*e
enerali@ation is that %alls and stri"es )ere rarel/ called %e*ore 1+..- and rad&all/
%ecame more and more a ro&tine part o* the ame- )ith the process reachin
completion at some point in the pro*essional era.
'his article is alread/ overElon- %&t : )ill %rie*l/ o**er three reasons *or the rel&ctance o*
&mpires to en*orce these r&les4
213 'he ne) r&le vastl/ e1panded the &mpire0s role- and e1posed him to criticism. 'he
earl/ &mpire )as there to resolve disp&tes %ro&ht %e*ore him. 'he ne) r&les called on
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him to interpose himsel* into the ame- in a )a/ that )as %o&nd to provo"e criticism.
'his )as entirel/ predicta%le and predicted4
'his r&le- altho&h- do&%tless- ver/ necessar/- is /et calc&lated to ma"e some tro&%les- and e1cite
disp&teD )hat one &mpire ma/ deem to %e 6ood %alls-7 another ma/ onl/ consider 6*rom *air to
middlin-7 and their decisions %e contin&all/ e1cepted to. Aorter0s Spirit o* the 'imes Bpril 17- 1+,+
223 'he pla/ers didn0t li"e the ne) r&le. Umpires )ere not /et a separate class *rom
pla/ers. '/picall/ the/ )ere active pla/ers- mem%ers o* an o&tside cl&%- called &pon to
serve *or the ame. So )hen )e have- as )e have seen- evidence o* pla/ers resistin
the r&les- this is also evidence o* &mpires0 attit&des. ?ven as en*orcement re) more
common- sometimes the competin sides )o&ld aree to disreard these r&les4
8'/poraphical vs. Bmerican !an" 5ote Compan/ +/./1+..9 'he Umpire )as <r. Larrison- o* the
Stars. $is decisions )ere impartiall/ ivenD %&t- %/ m&t&al consent o* the contestants- he inored the
si1th r&le almost entirel/- and the conse(&ence )as a ame o* over *o&r ho&rs d&ration and %&t seven
innins pla/ed at that. :t is %etter in all cases to 6stic" to the te1t7 closel/. !roo"l/n ?ale B&&st 7-
1+..
233 :nstit&tional inertia slo)ed implementation. ?ven a%sent active resistence- pla/ers
and &mpires tended to act as the/ had al)a/s. <a>or chanes )ere easier to enact
than to implement. :t )as easier to pers&ade pla/ers and &mpires *rom o&tl/in areas-
as the/ )ere &sed to ta"in their c&e *rom 5e) ;or"- )ith the )ritten )ord the main
cond&it *or in*ormation. Hor all that the %ase%all press )as centered on 5e) ;or" Cit/- it
had an easier time in*l&ence the rest o* the co&ntr/. 'his led to the o%servation that
&mpires *rom o&tl/in areas o*ten sta/ed closer to the o**icial r&les than did those *rom
the metropolis4
8<&t&al vs. Star +/21/1+..9 $is 8&mpire Gohn B. Ko)ell o* !oston9 intellient interpretation o* the r&les
in this ame- and the thoro&hl/ impartial and resol&te manner in )hich he held the contestants &p to
the strict letter o* the la)- merits commendation. $is decisions- in reard to callin %alls and stri"es
*or &n*air deliver/ or e**orts to pla/ a )aitin ame- a**orded an e1cellent e1ample *or o&r cit/E&mpires
to *ollo)D and even those noted re*erees- <essrs. Lr&m and A. C0!rien- can ta"e a lesson *rom him to
advantae. 5e) ;or" S&nda/ <erc&r/ B&&st 2.- 1+..
'he res&lt )as that constant haran&in over a span o* /ears )as necessar/ to et
&mpires to consistentl/For at allFen*orce called stri"es and %all.
Cn a *inal note- the (&estion e1amined here is a ver/ small slice o* a m&ch larer
development. 'he d&el %et)een the pitcher and the %atter developed slo)l/. !oth
practice and ideolo/ too" /ears to )or" thro&h the implications o* called %alls and
stri"es. 'here are man/ other aspects that merit e1amination. ?ven )hen the &mpire
)as )illin to call %alls and stri"es- &nder )hat circ&mstances )o&ld he# 'he modern
doctrine that ever/ pitch m&st %e either a %all or a stri"e developed slo)l/. 'his re(&ires
that the set o* all possi%le pitch locations %e divided into inside or o&tside a stri"e @one-
)ith no ne&tral middle ro&nd. :t also re(&ires that ever/ pitch not s)&n at %e called.
5either )as tr&e *rom the %einnin. 'he development o* the stri"e @one is its o)n
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stor/- as is the ad>&stment to the n&m%er o* %alls and stri"es *or a )al" or an o&t.
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