The Sporting Life, February 23, 1907 – Page 4


The umpire arm-signal plan, so well demonstrated during the world’s championship series, is growing in favor, and, from appearances, will be in general use next season. Its introduction is made easy by the fact that no league legislation is necessary for its introduction or use. It is within the province of each league president to order its use forthwith by his umpires. President Johnson, of the American League, President Pulliam, of the National League, and President O’Brien, of the American Association, have already decided to introduce the desirable innovation in their respective leagues next season; and we have no doubt all other league officials will soon or late follow suit. The only voice raised in criticism or opposition to date is that of Umpire O’Day, who is quoted as follows:

“If such a change in the rules is made it will not only be a hardship on the umpire by adding greater burdens to his lot than he now has, but he will not think of it half the time, for his mind will be getting down to first base when there is play coming off there or to some other base when there is a play there. Such a rule will work all right when there are two umpires in a game. One of the umpires could stand back of the pitcher and easily raise his arm for every ball pitched, for he would have nothing else to take up his mind, but when there is only one man officiating in a game, such a thing as raising an arm will not occur to an umpire when there is play on the bases. Then, again, if an umpire has a double-header to work in he will be unable to keep lifting his arms, for that will be hard work.”

Umpire O’Day probably spoke without reflection. The umpire who cannot use the arm signal system without confusion or trouble is not fit even for amateur umpiring. All that is required of him is to raise his right arm every time he calls a “strike.” No signal is necessary to indicate a “called ball,” as the fact that he does not raise his arm denotes that no strike has been called and therefore necessarily the decision must be a “called ball.” Furthermore, vocal announcement will not be abandoned, but will be used simultaneously with the arm signal. The system was tried in the world’s championship series and worked to a charm – so well, in fact, that everybody wondered why it has not been thought of, or tried, in the regular championship games long ago. As Umpire O’Day witnessed the world’s series, and therefore the arm-signal system also, his belated objection is rather singular, to say the least. We expect to see the simple little scheme in universal use next season.

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