Umpires are human, which means they make mistakes. I don’t have a big problem with that, to be honest. I am thrilled that Major League Baseball is making an effort to get calls right as often as possible — even if I think their approach to the solution is not ideal — but I don’t hold it against the umpires that the wrong calls are sometimes made in the first place. I think the majority of umpires take a lot of pride in their jobs and doing them well, and because of that the quality of umpiring in MLB is the best in the world.
Umpires should be background figures, heard but not seen, but there are some umpires who seem to think the fans are there to see them. Twitter calls this an #UmpShow. Umpires who are frequent #UmpShow culprits become pretty recognizable over time to fans who watch a lot of baseball.
With that in mind, I came up with a litmus test of sorts: if more than 50 percent of baseball fans can identify an umpire by name, it is time for that umpire to retire or be retired. So here, I present to you a quiz containing photos of 16 of the longest-tenured umpires. Please take the quiz and share it with your friends, and I’ll present the results as Part Two of this series once we have a decent number of results.
Share, please! Feedback is welcome either here in the comments or via email at jeff at baseballessential dot com.