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Al Barlick

Al Barlick

Albert Joseph Barlick

  • Height 5' 10¾", Weight 185 lb.
  • Born April 2, 1915 in Springfield, IL USA
  • Died December 27, 1995 in Springfield, IL USA

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1989

A WWII Coast Guard veteran with a salty tongue, Barlick was firm and tough and demanded respect. He umpired a record seven All-Star Games, spanning four decades. He was the plate umpire in the 1970 game when Pete Rose flattened catcher Ray Fosse. A no-nonsense type, he stopped a game at Shea Stadium to have the coaching box rechalked and forfeited a game in Philadelphia when unruly fans hit him with a tomato and fellow ump Lee Ballanfant with a bottle. In 1949 his call of a trap by the Cubs' Andy Pafko produced one of the shortest home runs in history. While Pafko argued the call, batter Rocky Nelson circled the bases for a 220-foot homer.

Biography
Born in Springfield, Illinois, Barlick served in the Coast Guard during World War II. With his wife Jenny he had two daughters, Marlene and Kathleen. He was one of the youngest ever to make it the big leagues — appearing behind the plate at age twenty-five.

In a career where he umpired from 1940 to 1971 he'll go down in history as former National League Umpire, Tom Gorman said, "the best I ever saw." His hiring was endorsed by the first ever Hall of Fame Umpire, Bill Klem. At one stage in his career he became so infuriated by National League President, Warren Giles decision not to suspend a player that he quit and went home. Giles begged him to return. He actually worked with Klem and taught umpiring to everyone that would listen. In 1962 he was crew chief of the crew that opened Dodger Stadium. The crew included "Shag" Crawford, Ed Vargo, and newly inducted Hall of Famer (class of 2010) Doug Harvey. All three became disciples of the man they affectionately called "Moose." Barlick umpired in seven All-Star games (1942, 1949, 1952, 1955, first 1959 game, 1966 and 1970), tying the record held by Bill Summers, and called balls and strikes for the first half of the 1949 through 1966 games and all of the 1970 game. He officiated in seven World Series (1946, 1950, 1951, 1954, 1958, 1962 and 1967), serving as crew chief in 1954, 1958 and 1962. He also officiated the three-game playoff series to determine the NL's regular-season champion in both 1959 and 1962 (games 2 and 3), and was crew chief for the first National League Championship Series in 1969. In a poll conducted by the players he was voted the best umpire in the National League twice in 1961 and 1970. He refused to acknowledge the poll, saying, "What would they know about umpiring?" Before the year was out the umpires conducted their own poll and he again was voted the best. This time he acknowledged the award. Fighting for all umpires, Barlick, along with Augie Donatelli, and "Shag" Crawford, formed the first umpire's union. Known as one of the toughest umpires to ever work in the major leagues, his eyes filled with tears as he accepted his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1989. When the National League umpires began wearing uniform numbers in 1970, Barlick was assigned number 1, which seemed appropriate for someone so highly regarded. His hall of fame plaque reads as follows:

ALBERT JOSEPH BARLICK
UMPIRE
NATIONAL LEAGUE 1940-1971
EARNED RESPECT OF PEERS AND PLAYERS ALIKE WITH
BOOMING, BASSO CALLS, CLEAR AND DECISIVE HAND
SIGNALS, KNOWLEDGE OF RULES, PROFICIENCY ON
BALLS AND STRIKES, ABILITY TO ANTICIPATE AND
THEN HANDLE ROUGH SITUATIONS AND UNCEASING
HUSTLE. PROFESSIONAL UMPIRE FOR FIVE DECADES;
AND AT AGE 25, ONE OF YOUNGEST TO REACH MAJORS,
WHERE HE WORKED 27 FULL SEASONS.

For 22 years after he retired, he acted as a consultant to the National League. He was responsible for mentoring Bruce Froemming, John McSherry, Frank Pulli, Terry Tata, Paul Runge, Ed Montague, Jim Quick, Gerald Crawford, Eric Gregg, Joe West, Randy Marsh, Charlie Williams, Steve Rippley, Bob Davidson, Tom Hallion, Greg Bonin, Larry Poncino, Mike Winters, and Ed Rapuano. Though Barlick worked for the National League, he was responsible for getting the American League to hire Drew Coble. He told the American League, "He's too good an umpire to be in the minor leagues and we don't have room for him." Barlick often told his umpires,"Though it's very bad to eject a player when he shouldn't be ejected, it's far worse to keep someone in the game who should be ejected." Barlick believed that you should help all umpires improve, no matter what level they were working... "You may have to work with 'em one day." Barlick died at age 80 in Springfield, Illinois due to cardiac arrest. His body was cremated and the ashes scattered.

By The Baseball Page

 

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