Neyer: A chat with Dave Pallone, baseball’s first gay umpire

From SABR member Rob Neyer at on December 3, 2014:

One thing we know for sure: Dale Scott isn’t Major League Baseball’s first gay umpire. We’re now well into the second decade of the 21st century. But in the 1980s, Dave Pallone umpired National League games, and Dave Pallone was gay. Just not publicly. And when at least hints of his sexual orientation did become public, he was fired.

Granted, Pallone had some other problems. He’d been in the middle of an incident that resulted in a month-long suspension for Pete Rose. And during the 1988 season – Pallone’s last – he was briefly linked to a sex scandal in Saratoga Springs, New York. Pallone was never charged with any sort of crime; what evidence there was seems to have been terribly flimsy. But National League President Bart Giamatti used the affair to justify dumping Pallone.

In his 1990 memoir, Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball, Pallone dismissed MLB’s stated rationale for firing him, writing, “These reasons were camouflage for the real reason: I was gay, and they didn’t want the publicity surrounding that to tarnish baseball’s macho image. In other words, they were prepared to sacrifice a proven, veteran umpire so they wouldn’t look bad.”

Tuesday, in the wake of Dale Scott making the headlines, I talked to Pallone, who now gives talks around the country.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: December 3, 2014. Last Updated: December 3, 2014.