De La Cretaz: Women in blue: the day umpires made history

From Britni de la Cretaz at The Hardball Times on February 26, 2018, with mention of SABR member Perry Barber:

On February 26, 2008, umpire Perry Barber arrived at what is now First Data Field in Port St. Lucie, Florida. She got out of her car and greeted the rest of her crew for a New York Mets spring training exhibition game. She watched as they looked around, taking stock of who they would be working with that day.

Barber had been charged with assembling the crew for this game between the Mets and the University of Michigan. And she called in people she knew were up for the job: Ila Valcarcel, Mona Osborne and Theresa Cox Fairlady. Together, the four of them became the first all-female crew to umpire a game featuring a  major league team. Barber hadn’t told any of them that they were about to make history before they arrived to call the game. “It was a surprise for all of us. It was a nice surprise,” Valcarcel told me over the phone last week. “I was like okay, we can do this. We got this, this is cool.”

Asked by phone why she decided to bring a four-woman umpire crew onto the field that day, Barber says, “I knew we could and it had never been done so I figured why not? We were ready and I thought the world was ready but it was probably still a little before it’s time.”

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Originally published: February 26, 2018. Last Updated: February 26, 2018.