Tag Archives: Ralph Houk

Scorecard! Who Needs A Scorecard?

The Death Of The Scorecard At The Ballgame

Scorecard vendor at the Polo Grounds 1949 - photo William C. Greene

Scorecard vendor at the Polo Grounds 1949 – photo William C. Greene

Recently I went to a baseball game at that imitation ballpark in the Bronx they call Yankee Stadium. After being gently frisked at the admission gates and going through the turnstiles, the thing that did not greet me was what you see above: a vendor selling scorecards.

You could buy a scorecard, but not for 10 cents as it was at the Polo Grounds in 1949. The archaic idea of a scorecard costs $10 at Yankee Stadium and is available at the souvenir shops spread throughout Yankee Mall Stadium. The scorecard is buried in some glossy souvenir publication which I did not purchase, nor did anyone else.

When I used to attend a lot of games in the 1970’s and 80’s buying a scorecard was a no-brainer. From anywhere from a reasonable 25 cents in the early 1970’s to two dollars in the late 80’s, filling out that scorecard and having a program was a nice memento of a game I went to. There is a certain enjoyment derived from scorekeeping and having a permanent record of a game you are attending.

I just dug this program of my closet from a game I went to on Thursday evening September 6, 1973. The Yankees came back in the bottom of the eighth inning after trailing 6-5 on a three run home run from Mike Hegan to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-6. Bobby Murcer and Roy White also homered for the Yanks. The time of the game was 2:22.

In my childish way I merely recorded outs as fly outs, ground outs or line outs without denoting the fielders who made the play. As you can see my scorekeeping leaves a lot to be desired, but for a little kid I think I did a pretty good job. Eventually I learned to score correctly.

For 30 cents they packed a lot into 28 pages. Continue reading

Marty Springstead Demonstrates How To Eject A Manager

Marty Springstead, Former American League Umpire, Dies At 74 (January 17, 2012)

Major league baseball umpires are beloved by their families and friends, but are generally not appreciated by the fans. When longtime umpire Marty Springstead died after suffering a heart attack on January 17th in Sarasota Florida, I felt sad that one of the more memorable baseball names that I heard throughout my childhood was gone. As a fan, I appreciated Marty Springstead’s umpiring skills  and not just because he would consistently eject Orioles manager and longtime Yankee nemesis Earl Weaver from ballgames during the 1970’s and 1980’s, but because he was from the old school of umpiring and was not flamboyant.

Springstead umpired in the American League from 1966-1985. He went on to become an executive and supervisor of umpires from 1986-2009. He worked in three All-Star Games and three World Series. He also got to be behind the plate for two no-hitters, but missed the chance for a third. He would have been calling balls and strikes on June 1, 1975 when Nolan Ryan pitched his fourth no-hitter, but he took off to be with his wife who was having a baby.  People who knew Springstead said Marty was funny and a great storyteller.

But managers who got under his skin would not see that side of him while he was on the field. Springstead was a very good umpire who took his job seriously and didn’t take flak from players, coaches or managers.  Twice during his career Springstead led the league in manager ejections.

I was among the 10,670 long suffering Yankee fans who attended the ballgame shown in the photo below.

At Yankee Stadium on Saturday, August 26, 1972, the Kansas City Royals had already scored two unearned runs in the third inning, and were leading two to one. There were two outs and Yankees pitcher Rob Gardner had a 1-2 count on Kansas City Royals slugger John Mayberry with two men on base. It looked like Gardner would get out of the inning. Continue reading