Clipping:Interpreting unfair balls

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Date Sunday, August 25, 1867

[Athletics vs. Mutuals 8/20/1867] John Grum was asked to officiate as umpire in this game; he at first declined, but afterward consented. But even he, upright and conscientious as he is known to be, failed to escape the hisses of the betting-men for some of his decisions, although we did not notice a single error in his ruling on any disputed pint of the bases; although in his interpretation of the Sixth Rule he is far too lenient. In this match, however, he was completely outwitted by McBride. And the way of it was this:–When Peters sent in balls “not fairly for the striker”, there was no mistaking them, as they were either on the ground or overhead, or else on the wrong side of the batsman, and it was evident to everybody that the umpire was justified in calling balls on him. In McBride’s case, however, that dodgy pitcher kept delivering them so near over the base, and so close to the height indicated, that Grum could not conscientiously call a ball on him, although the majority were too close or too far off to be hit in safety. Such balls, though apparently fair, are sufficiently out of the boundary of the line indicated by the words “fairly for the striker” as extremely wide balls; but this fact Grum did not fairly realize and hence his apparent leniency with McBride, when, in fact, he was as strict on one as the other, as far as his idea of an unfair ball went. It is in just such instances as this that umpires are considered partial in their decisions, and those who are not so noted for integrity of character as Flanly, O’Brien, and Grum, for instance, have to suffer under unjust imputations of partiality.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
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Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings


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