Friday, January 09, 2015

Book Review - Called Out but Safe: A Baseball Umpire's Journey

Called Out but Safe: A Baseball Umpire's Journey by Al Clark with Dan Schlossberg
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (May 1, 2014)

Al Clark worked as an umpire in more than 3,000 games for thirty years.  He was lucky enough to work two All-Star Games, seven playoff series, and two World Series.

Clark was the umpire behind the plate during a game in 1991 when there were three Jews all wishing each other a happy new year when Shawn Green stepped up to the plate and Jesse Levis was the catcher.  How many times has that happened in baseball history?

Al Clark provides an entertaining memoir.  He shares his stories of managers Earl Weaver, Billy Martin, and Dick Williams.  Some of these folks were not friendly to the umpires.  Clark tells of how he tore his hamstring while ejecting a player or manager (I meant to put this review up a while ago after I read the book).  Heck, he even ejected his own father, a sportswriter who made his way into the dressing room.

It was Clark who was there for Nolan Ryan's 300th win, Cal Ripken's 2131st game, and the "earthquake" World Series of 1989.  He shares stories from all these games and many more.

Clark opens up about the scandal he was embroiled in.  This is what led to his retirement from baseball.  Had he realized what he was doing was wrong, he would have never done it.

Outspoken and hilarious, Clark's book provides the rare opportunity at what life is like for an umpire.

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