Using Replacement Umpires in the Postseason

From SABR member Larry Granillo at Baseball Prospectus on October 5, 2011:

Much to Major League Baseball’s dismay, the story of recent postseasons has been, much-too-often, the poor officiating. From missed strike calls to poor positioning to blatantly wrong fair/foul calls (I’m looking at you, Phil Cuzzi!), fans hoping to see a game decided strictly by the players on the field have been devastated by bad calls in recent years. Umpires have been better this season, with most complaints coming from ball/strike calls that disagree with the on-screen map. Compared to the last few years, that’s heaven.

Imagine, then, how you would feel if the umpires went on strike as the playoffs began, forcing MLB to use scabs in the postseason. Doesn’t sound too good, does it? That’s exactly what happened in the 1970 playoffs, only the second year of the League Championship Series.

As the season ended and the Orioles, Twins, Pirates, and Reds prepared for their series, the umpire’s union threatened to strike if their postseason wages were not increased. They did not officially “strike”, but they did refuse to work Game 1 of either series. In their place, “minor league and former major league umpires” called the games.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: October 6, 2011. Last Updated: October 6, 2011.