Kaplan: Pioneer in blue: umpire Perry Barber behind the dish

From SABR member Ron Kaplan at Excelle Sports on July 1, 2016, with SABR member Perry Barber:

Perry Barber was on her way to umpire a game at Boston’s famed Fenway Park. That it was for a women’s fantasy camp and not a Red Sox contest didn’t lessen her excitement.

“Fantasy camp for umpires is umpiring school,” said Barber who has been patrolling the field for more than 30 years, in a phone interview last month. She attended six sessions at the famous  Umpiring School (founded by the late National League arbiter Harry) from 1982-85 and again in 2005, and another program run by Zach Rebackoff in 1985. The average class size was about 150. Only the top 10 or 15 students advanced to pro careers. “The odds are not good,” she said.

“Back in the early ‘80s when I was first learning the craft, I had it in my mind after my second trip through that I could graduate high enough in the rankings to get a job in pro ball but that never happened,” she recalled. “Whether I was ever talented enough I have no idea. I don’t think I ever ranked higher than 40 in any of my classes, but again, ranking is a very subjective thing. Who knows? It was what it was.”

Could her placement have been the result of gender bias? “It may have [been],” she mused. “There was already a woman umpire in pro ball (Pam Postema in AAA, baseball’s highest minor league level). I think the powers that be…were perfectly satisfied with just one and that two may have been just a little too much for them to handle.”

Read the full article here: http://www.excellesports.com/news/pioneer-blue-perry-barber-behind-dish/

Originally published: July 5, 2016. Last Updated: July 5, 2016.