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Friday, July 10, 2020

The Umpire Was Blind! by Jonathan Weeks - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hi, lovelies!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Jonathan Weeks and his new book, “The Umpire Was Blind!”  For other stops on his Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Jonathan and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!

The Umpire Was Blind!
by Jonathan Weeks


GENRE: Sports History/Biography



In the words of former American League umpire Nestor Chylak, umpires are expected to “be perfect on the first day of the season and then get better every day.” Forced to deal with sullen managers and explosive players, they often take the blame for the failures of both. But let’s face it—umpires are only human.

For well over a century, the fortunes of Major League teams—and the fabric of baseball history itself—have been dramatically affected by the flawed decisions of officials. While the use of video replay in recent decades has reduced the number of bitter disputes, many situations remain exempt from review and are subject to swirling controversy. In the heat of the moment mistakes are often made, sometimes with monumental consequences.




…“The Streak” was in serious jeopardy on multiple occasions. In fact, DiMaggio extended it during his final plate appearance nearly a dozen times. But never was he more in danger of losing it than on June 10 at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. After a pair of groundouts and an infield pop-up, the Yankee icon came to bat in the seventh inning against right-hander Johnny Rigney, who was one of Chicago’s top hurlers in those days. DiMaggio smashed a sizzling grounder to third, where the sure-handed Dario Lodigiani was stationed. “Lodi” could only block it with his body, but he recovered in time to nail the Yankee centerfielder at first by a quarter of a step. Fortunately for DiMaggio, first base umpire Steve Basil saw things differently, making a “safe” call on the play.

Basil, who had turned to umpiring after his playing career stalled out at the Class-D level, was in his sixth year of major league service. Though generally even-tempered, he was not afraid to assert his authority when his calls were held in question. Never was this more apparent than in June of 1938, when he tossed three members of the St. Louis Browns out of a game for arguing balls and strikes.

According to AL arbiter Joe Rue, Basil was a bit of a tattletale who was constantly trying to curry favor with MLB officials. In particular, he had established intimate relationships with umpire supervisor Tommy Connolly and AL president William Harridge. “Basil was always playing up to Connolly,” Rue asserted bitterly. “And he’d run to Connolly and Harridge with everything.”

There was no need to seek the counsel of league officials on the date in question. In fact, the White Sox hardly protested at all as DiMaggio’s streak was extended to twenty-five games. Basil’s call proved to be of monumental importance when Joe D. grounded into a double play in his final at-bat of the day. Had Basil made the correct decision, “The Streak” would have been divided into two roughly equal halves—impressive, for sure, but not exactly the stuff that legends are made of.

The events of July 17, 1941, have attained an almost mythical quality. DiMaggio had pushed his streak to fifty-six games and was on his way to Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium in a cab when the driver, recognizing the iconic outfielder and his teammate Lefty Gomez, said ominously: “I got a feeling if you don’t get a hit in your first at-bat today, they’re going to stop you.” (Several versions of the quote exist) Flabbergasted, Gomez snapped: “Who the hell are you? What’re you trying to do—jinx him?”

…Gomez might have been on to something.

The jinx appeared in the form of Indians third baseman Ken Keltner, who made a pair of spectacular stops to rob DiMaggio. “The Streak” ended that day and “Joltin’ Joe” hit safely in his next 16 games. Many years after the fact, he claimed to have had an encounter with the mysterious Cleveland cab driver. “Now this is thirty years later,” DiMaggio asserted. “He apologized and was serious. I felt awful. He might have been spending his whole life thinking he had jinxed me, but I told him he hadn’t. My number was up.”




If there were a Hall of Fame for dishonest umpires, Dick Higham would be a founding member. To date, he remains the only arbiter ever to be permanently banished from the sport.

Born in County Suffolk, England, Higham was two years-old when he moved with his family to America. He began playing baseball as a teenager. After spending time with the New York Empire and Marrisania Union clubs, he ascended to the majors with the New York Mutuals. The promotion was bittersweet as his mother passed away within weeks of his big league arrival.

Higham was a talented hitter, compiling a lifetime .307 batting average for six different teams. Most often appearing at the top of the order, he led the National League in doubles twice and runs score once. A versatile fielder, he played every position on the diamond except for pitcher. He served in the outfield more often than not, but also spent a significant amount of time behind the plate. Catching was a hazardous profession in the 1800s due to the lack of protective equipment. Gloves were sparsely padded. There were no shin-guards and the use of masks and chest protectors was uncommon.

Over the course of his career, rumors began to circulate that Higham was fixing games for a price. Though nothing was ever proven, his playing days ended when he was still very much in his prime. Upon retiring in 1880, he settled in Troy, New York. Despite his questionable past, the National League hired him as an umpire in 1881. At the time, NL umpires had to be approved by team owners. Of the two dozen candidates selected that year, Higham placed third in voting.

Umpires were assigned to specific teams and Higham ended up with the Providence Grays to start the season. Later that year, he called games for the Detroit Wolverines and Troy Trojans. In all, he drew fifty-eight assignments, performing well enough to be honored with a testimonial game at season’s end.

In 1882, Higham placed eighth in voting during the selection process. He started the season with Detroit and drew the suspicions of Wolverines owner William G. Thompson, who believed that Higham was making calls against his team. A private detective hired by Thompson confirmed those misgivings. A letter written by Higham to a notorious gambler was discovered. In it, a simple telegram code for placing bets was established. “Buy all the lumber you can” was a cue to bet on the Wolverines while no telegram was an advisement to bet against them.

Confronted by a group of disgruntled owners, Higham was fired from his position and banned from the sport. He never admitted to any of the charges made against him. Upon being dismissed from his duties, he settled into a career as a bookkeeper. He was married with two sons at the time of his death in 1905 from complications of Bright’s disease (an ailment characterized by chronic inflammation of the kidneys).

Higham’s case helped raise awareness of the dishonesty within baseball and the need to hold umpires accountable for their actions. 1882 was the first year in which umpires, players and managers were all prohibited from betting on games. Though shady dealings would continue to pervade the sport over the next few decades, the situation was more closely monitored following Higham’s expulsion.



Weeks spent most of his life in the Capital District region of New York State. He earned a degree in psychology from SUNY Albany. In 2004, he migrated to Malone, NY. He continues to gripe about the frigid winter temperatures to the present day. He has published several books on the topic of baseball. He would have loved to play professionally, but lacked the talent. He still can't hit a curve ball or lay off the high heat. In the winter months, he moonlights as a hockey fan.




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Jonathan will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here.**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Jonathan ~ Good morning! Welcome to FAB! It is so great to have you here! Congrats on your new book and good luck on the book tour! :)

    1. Thank you so much! I always appreciate an opportunity to get my work out there and interact with readers.

  2. Replies
    1. Actually, I didn't help with the design. This is my first time working with this particular publisher. In the past, I have been asked for input regarding cover designs, but not this time around. I'm not complaining. I think it turned out very well.

  3. Great post and I appreciate getting to find out about another great book. Thanks for all you do and for the hard work you put into this. Greatly appreciated!

    1. And thanks to you James for being so supportive.

  4. Happy Friday - thanks for sharing the great post and awesome giveaway :)

  5. Thanks for sharing, this sounds like a great book