Ford Frick

Ford Frick

A sports writer who became National League President and Commisioner. Hall of Fame member

It was fitting that the ultimate tribute to Ford Frick was his election to the Hall of Fame. He was president of the National League when the shrine was proposed, and he gave the idea his fullest support.

Frick began his career as a midwestern sports writer and moved to New York with the Hearst papers. He pioneered the nightly radio sports report, giving scores and news. In 1934 he became NL public relations director and succeeded the ailing William Heydler as NL president the next year. In 1951 he replaced Happy Chandler as Commissioner as the owners sought a less stubbornly independent figure at the helm than Chandler or the untameable Judge Landis. Much-derided for his controversial decision to attach an asterisk to Roger Maris's record 61 HR in the new 162-game season in 1961 (Frick had been Babe Ruth's ghostwriter), he saw his resourceful administration and gentle guidance of the owners away from their instinct for self-destruction overshadowed by the asterisk issue. In Frick's wake have come General Eckert, Bowie Kuhn, and Peter Ueberroth, and a trend toward baseball as a billion-dollar business perhaps too willing to shed its old values, values the traditionalist Frick revered.

In 1949, Frick made clear the most important rules governing umpires. He called these rules the "10 Commandments of Umpiring" and are listed below:


Ford C. Frick's 10 Commandments of Umpiring

   1. Keep your eye on the ball.
   2. Keep all your personalities out of your work. Forget and forgive.
   3. Avoid sarcasm. Don't insist on the last word.
   4. Never charge a player and, above all, no pointing your finger or yelling.
   5. Hear only the things you should hear - be deaf to others.
   6. Keep your temper. A decision made in anger is never sound.
   7. Watch your language.
   8. Take pride in your work at all times. Remember, respect for an umpire is created off the field as well as on.
   9. Review your work. You will find, if you are honest, that 90% of the trouble is traceable to loafing.
  10. No matter what your opinion of another umpire, never make an adverse comment regarding him. To do so is despicable and ungentlemanly.

He was inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983

    Quote: "If you do this, you are through, and I don't care if it wrecks the league for 10 years. You cannot do this because this is America." Ford Frick, warning players not to strike over Jackie Robinson's historic 1947 major league debut


By Baseball Library


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