A recap from SABR member Gilbert Martinez on January 17, 2012:
Tales from a retired Triple-A umpire, glimpses of early 20th century baseball when Babe Ruth was known as a good pitcher, and personal stories of Branch Rickey’s impact on baseball from his grandson were just some of the topics tossed around during the Sixth Annual Winter Meeting of SABR’s Rogers Hornsby Chapter on Saturday, January 14.
Nearly 30 members and guests were treated to a photomontage of Rogers Hornsby images available online through the Library of Congress and photos from chapter activities in recent years.
Frank Coffland, 34, spent eight years umpiring in the minor leagues. A product of the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring, Coffland has umpired in the Pacific Coast League, the Texas League, the Southern League and the Venezuelan Winter League. He retired before the 2005 season to spend time with a growing family, but continues to umpire in college baseball and aspires to umpire in the College World Series some day.
Coffland said he knew he wanted to be an umpire when he was in high school. He said he loved watching the umpires on the field with their strike and out calls. He also fielded questions from the group, including how he maintains his cool when coaches, players and fans yell at him.
“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s part of the game. At umpire school, we learned that we have to remain under control and professional.”
To read Gilbert’s complete recap from Saturday’s chapter meeting, visit http://chapters.sabr.org/hornsby/chapter-news/event-summaries/225-fomer-minor-league-umpire-branch-rickey-iii-featured-at-2012-winter-meeting