2010-2013 MiBL Umps
/ 2005-2009 MiLB Umps
/1999-2004 MiLB Umps /WBC Umps
PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL UMPIRE CORP. 2013 STAFF
Mike Felt: Chief of Instruction, PBUC Evaluator
Jorge Bauza: Field Evaluator/Instructor, PBUC
Dusty Dellinger: Field Evaluator/Instructor, PBUC
Tyler Funneman: Field Evaluator/Instructor, PBUC
Larry Reveal: Field Evaluator/Instructor, PBUC
Darren Spagnardi: Field Evaluator/Instructor, PBUC
Mark Stubblefield: Medical Coordinator, PBUC
The 2013 regular season salary ranges for each classification are as follows:
Class AAA: $2,600 - 3,500 per month
Class AA: $2,300 - 2,700 per month
Class A - Full Season: $2,000 - 2,400 per month
Class A - Short Season & Rookie: $1,900 - 2,100 per month
Salaries may vary from the above ranges due to service time or other special considerations. Umpires receive a promotion premium in the form of increase pay when promoted to Class AA, and another promotion premium when promoted to Class AAA.
MLB announced that seven umpires have been named to the full-time Major League Umpiring staff. In addition, as another part of this season’s expansion of instant replay, the Office of the Commissioner has appointed Justin Klemm as Director of Instant Replay.
Klemm, a former minor league umpire and minor league umpire administrator, will report to Peter Woodfork, MLB’s Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations, which I assume means Joe Torre will be relieved of even more uncomfortable press conferences when things go awry. Klemm will be based at the headquarters of MLB Advanced Media, which will serve as the Replay Command Center.
Here is the rundown of the seven new umps, all of whom have had callups as replacement / fill-in umps in the past.
Before the creation of a formal umpire development program, Minor League presidents would travel to the umpire schools and sign umpires to professional contracts right at the schools.
Umpires were then "sold" from league to league by word of mouth through the various league presidents. In fact, umpires were known to "politic" in order to advance themselves. The individual league presidents were 100% responsible for lining up their own umpire staffs each year. At that time, it was not uncommon for an umpire to jump from what would now be Rookie classification to AAA classification with no intermediate stops.
The league itself paid all salary and expenses - as minimal as it was then - for each umpire in the league. For example, monthly salaries for umpires in the Florida Rookie League (forerunner of the Gulf Coast League) ranged from $175 to $200 per month and umpires were given from $150 to $200 for expenses. In comparison, the starting salary in the GCL is currently $1,800 per month.
By 1964, Baseball had decided it was in need of a new method for recruitment, training and development of umpires for the Major Leagues as well as a new method of training and advancement for umpires within the Minor Leagues.
Basically, Baseball was looking at a two-fold purpose in instituting a new program. A more athletic, energetic, educated, dedicated, and mannerly-type individual was desired - one with unquestionably high morals and integrity standards. At the same time, a different method of advancement through the Minor Leagues was needed.
For those reasons, the Umpire Development Program was established at Baseball's Winter Meetings in Houston in 1964, and the program began operating in early 1965. Immediately, plans were set into motion whereby the program - based on on-field evaluations - would make recommendations to each league president concerning qualified umpires for their staffs. Major League Baseball would in turn help subsidize each league by paying for a portion of each umpire's salary.
The first administrator of the program was Edward S. Doherty, Jr., a veteran baseball executive.
In March 1965, Bernard (Barney) Deary was hired as a field supervisor. Prior to this, Deary had been an umpire in the International League. He had also umpired in the American Association, Eastern, Georgia-Florida, and Kitty Leagues. One of Deary's first responsibilities was to go onto the field during Spring Training with the younger umpires and actually work with them while supervising.
In April of 1965, Al Somers was also hired as a field supervisor. At that time Somers had just returned from the Far East, where he had been conducting umpire clinics for the armed forces. He was also the owner/operator of the Al Somers School for Umpires, which was the primary professional umpire school at that time. Somers stayed only until June, leaving Deary as the only full-time supervisor to cover all minor leagues throughout the United States. Deary traveled over 50,000 miles during his first season.
The next important development came in 1968 when Major League Baseball decided that UDP should operate its own umpire training course each year. It was called Major League Baseball's "Umpire Specialization Course," and the first class was held in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969.
Candidates for the course were actively screened and only a limited number of applications were accepted. The first class had approximately 30 students, including future Major League umpires Nick Bremigan, Joe Brinkman and Jim Evans. At this point, Baseball had basically two sources for professional umpires: the new Specialization Course and the Al Somers School for Umpires.
Also in early 1968, veteran International League umpire Joe Linsalata was hired as a second field supervisor. He was with the program in different capacities for many years.
When Doherty left in1969 to take an administrative position with the Washington Senators, Deary was named as Administrator of the program. Veteran umpire Bill Kinnamon was contracted to be chief instructor for the start of the Umpire Specialization Course. Bill was still umpiring in the American League at that time, but an injury on June 22, 1969, ended his career on the field. At the end of the 1969 season he was hired as a full-time supervisor and chief instructor of Baseball's Specialization Course. Bill served as a field supervisor with Linsalata and Deary during the 1970-1973 seasons.
Baseball's own "rookie camp" operated for only 5 years, and in 1974 Kinnamon and Linsalata both left to take over operation of the Specialization Course as a privately-owned school, independent of Major League Baseball. This left Deary as the lone supervisor/administrator again until 1979, when Mike Fitzpatrick and Dick Nelson were hired as field supervisors. Both were veteran AAA umpires, Fitzpatrick having worked in the American Association for seven years and Nelson having served as instructor at the Al Somers and Wendelstedt schools for nine years, six as chief instructor. This greatly relieved the workload for Deary, but Baseball continued to push for even more training, supervision, and development in the Minor Leagues. So Dennis Cregg was hired in 1986 as a third supervisor, followed by Tom Lepperd in 1987, and Mike Felt in 1988.
Ed Lawrence was hired by Major League Baseball as Executive Director of the UDP in early 1988. In September of that year, Deary passed away after suffering a sudden heart attack. Deary gave Baseball 24 years of service with the umpire program, his final 20 years as the program's Administrator. Fitzpatrick was then named Director of Field Supervision.
As the need for further supervision and training continued to grow, additional field supervisors were hired: Phil Janssen in 1989; Michael Pilato in 1990; and Jerry Neudecker and Bill Haller in 1992. Janssen left to join the American League as Coordinator of Umpire Operations in 1992, and Felt, Pilato, and Haller left the program because of budget cuts after the 1993 season. Neudecker died of cancer in January, 1997.Budget constraints eased in early 1997 and Felt and Pilato were re-hired, along with veteran umpire Cris Jones, bringing the instructor/evaluator staff back up to seven.
Through the last several years, tremendous strides were made in improved working conditions for umpires in the Minor Leagues, and the overall level of umpiring at the professional level has risen significantly.
Some of the more important features of the program include:
Pay raises for Minor League umpires (the starting monthly salary for a rookie umpire is currently $1,800 (compare this with the $175 per month before the establishment of UDP). All Minor League umpire salaries and expenses are paid by the NA league which employs the umpire.
Group medical, dental, and life insurance is provided free of charge for all umpires in all full-season leagues.
Hotel lodging is provided free through the league offices for each umpire while on assignment within the league.
Local courtesy transportation (generally a complimentary rental car) is provided through the league offices for Class AAA umpire crews in each city.
Uniforms are provided to each umpire [years ago, umpires were on their own in obtaining uniforms].
Three-umpire crew system used in AAA and AA leagues [until the late 1970's, both the IL and PCL used the two-umpire system].
A fair and impartial evaluation process for each Minor League umpire, including two written evaluations each year.
Thorough evaluation and training of each Minor League umpire by means of a criss-cross schedule by the evaluation staff.
Use of video and audio tape in the training and evaluation of Minor League umpires.
Numerous educational and training materials published by PBUC, including the NAPBL Umpire Manual and the Manual for the 2-Umpire System.
A comprehensive annual rules test administered to all NA umpires each winter.
Annual Spring Training Meetings for NA umpires assigned to Spring Training.
The PBUC operates out of the National Association offices in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The job of a professional baseball umpire requires quick thinking, common sense, and confidence. When the ball is in play, the umpire sees the action, assesses the situation and makes the call—all in a matter of seconds. The successful umpire has a thorough knowledge of the rule book, is even-tempered, and is mentally strong enough to handle situations under stressful conditions. He is expected to hustle, be alert, be in excellent physical condition, and have a neat appearance.
Each year Professional Baseball Umpire Corp. (PBUC) recommends new candidates to serve as umpires for the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (the Minor Leagues). These candidates have good training, strong ability as umpires, and a keen desire to succeed.
Umpires seeking a job in professional baseball must meet some basic requirements. I can't be your people finder to contact the right person, but here's a start.Each applicant must have:
High School diploma or G.E.D.
Reasonable body weight
20/20 vision (with or without glasses or contact lenses)
Strong interpersonal skills
Good communication skills
Quick reflexes and good coordination
Some athletic ability
Required preliminary training for the job (i.e., professional umpire school)
The first step to pursuing a career as a professional umpire is to attend one of the approved professional umpire training schools. These schools run for a period of five weeks during January and February each year. At the end of the training, the school and the PBUC staff members then select its top graduates for participation in the Umpire Evaluation Course, sponsored by the PBUC.
During the Evaluation Course, each umpire's performance and abilities are evaluated by the PBUC staff. At the conclusion of the course the students are ranked, based on performance, and recommendations are then made to the Minor League Presidents regarding additions to their umpire staffs.
Those selected from the Evaluation Course start their careers in either a Rookie or Short-A Minor League. While progressing from Class A to Class AA to Class AAA leagues, the umpire receives valuable training and experience which may provide an opportunity to become a Major League umpire. It usually takes seven to eight years of umpiring professional baseball at the Minor League level before the umpire is considered for positions at the Major League level.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - August 02, 1999 - Eight years of long drives, cheap motels and ballpark food finally paid off for minor league umpire Jim Reynolds. He made it to the big leagues as a substitute this season. And it looks like he's there to stay because of the labor dispute between umpires and major league baseball.
“It's a completely different atmosphere [in the majors],” Reynolds said last week from Anaheim, Calif., where he was working a weekend series between the Angels and the Minnesota Twins.s.
“There's a big difference between going into Toronto and working in front of 30,000 or 40,000 people and four or five thousand in Syracuse.”
Reynolds is talkative about the life he's giving up, but he says little about being in the middle of a labor mess. “I just hope they can get it all resolved up there,” he said.
Members of the Major League Umpires Association, wanting a new collective bargaining agreement, said in July they were quitting Sept. 2. The leagues called their bluff, accepting 22 resignations. Reynolds is one of 25 minor league umpires hired as replacements.
“I think the magnitude of it all is more than I expected,” Reynolds said. “The intensity and the atmosphere -- I don't think you can anticipate that.”
Professional umpires usually get their start at one of two schools -- The Umpire School (PBUC operated) and Harry Wendelstedt's Umpire School -- where they pay roughly $2,500 to $3,000 for a five-week course in umpiring. Students are monitored during the course by Professional Baseball Umpire Corp. scouts, who pick the top candidates for minor league openings.
Like most baseball players, umpires must work their way up league by league until they have a chance at the majors. But unlike players, who can bypass the minors if they're talented enough, umpires don't usually skip levels.
“If you're a prospect player, you're going to play maybe two or three years in the minor leagues. There are some guys who have never been in the minors,” Reynolds said. “Umpires, the way the system is set up now, it's six or seven years before you even get a look.” Still, Reynolds said, the players remember the umpires from their early days.
“When you see the guys who you used to see in the minors, they have a smile on their faces and so do you. You spend a lot of time with a lot of those guys,” he said.
A minor league umpire's season starts with spring training in late February and can last through September if he is selected to work the playoffs.
Thepay is nothing to brag about. Umpires in Class A make an average of $1,800 to $2,000 a month while the top minor league umps in Class AAA make $2,500 to $3,400, said Eric Krupa, administrator for the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based PBUC.
Life on the road in the lower minors can be tough. Umpires have to drive hundreds of miles after a night game to be in a new city for a game the next afternoon, Reynolds said. And the motel accommodations are lacking. “You try to figure out which bed has the least bend in it,” Reynolds said.
As a Class AAA umpire, Reynolds was making more money and getting to fly between cities.
Due to these increased funds he no longer needs to go out of his way and basically take out a small business loan to make it to his next assignment. When things like this happen, it's clear that the umpire isn't in this career for the money but for the love of the game.
Umpires are booed almost nightly by sometimes ruthless spectators. But Reynolds and his International League crew, during a stopover earlier this season at the Columbus Clippers' stadium, said they usually have fun at the ballpark.
“There are 14 teams in this league,” Reynolds said. “There's two teams that think you're the worst crew and can't believe that you ever made it to Triple-A. There's two teams that think you're the best crew in the league and can't do anything wrong. The other 10 teams tolerate you.”
Reynolds was finally called up to the majors in June, when the Boston Red Sox were home against the Atlanta Braves. “That signified the major leagues to me -- Fenway Park,” said Reynolds, who grew up about 100 miles southwest of Boston outside Hartford, Conn. “It was absolutely incredible."
2010-2013 MiLB Umps / 2005 - 2009 MiLB Umps /1999 - 2004 MiLB Umps / MLB Umps
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