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