Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, February 3, 1900 – Page 6
Base Ball, the Prize Ring, Foot Ball and Games of All Sorts.
A number of baseball players and managers are talking of introducing this year a system of signals to be used in the future by the baseball umpire for the purpose of conveying his decisions to the spectators at games who occupy seats out of hearing of his voice. All baseball lovers at one time or another have suffered some inconvenience because they could not make out the nature of decisions at a distance from home plate, and the manner in which many of them are taking up the discussion has been proposed to make a complete code of signals to be used by all league umpires. If the plan is put into practice the code will be printed upon the backs of all league score cards and the umpires will be compelled to use it. It has been suggested that the extending of the umpire’s right arm above his head shall indicate that he has called a strike and that the raising of his left arm shall mean that a ball has been called. Of course, such a system can be elaborated upon and can be made to fill all emergencies. Billy Hoy, who is at Cincinnati, in speaking of this scheme a day or two ago said “I think the idea is a splendid one. Such a rule, if established, will please not only the patrons of the game, but also the players. By reason of the distance the outfielders do not always hear the ruling of the umpire. The same thing applies to the occupants of the distant parts of the stands. The act of lifting up the right hand by a coacher while I am at bat to denote that the umpire has called a strike on me and the raising of the left hand to denote that a ball has been called has come to be well understood by all the league players. I have often been told by frequenters of the game that they take considerable delight in watching the coacher signal balls and strikes to me as by these signals they can know to a certainty what the umpire with a not too overstrong voice is saying. I can’t see any reason why the rule should not be adopted. It will cost nothing. President Young will simply have to notify his umpires at the outset of the season, and the thing is accomplished. I hope it will be adopted. A simpler or more effective rule has never been recommended to the league.”