University of Nebraska Press
Date of this Version
© 2014 by Al Clark and Dan Schlossberg. Foreword © 2014 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska. Appendix information courtesy of Retrosheet. Frontispiece: Cartoon by Ronnie Joyner.
If an umpire could steal the show in a Major League game, Al Clark might well have been the one to do it. Tough but fair, in his thirty years as a professional umpire he took on some of baseball’s great umpire baiters, such as Earl Weaver, Billy Martin, and Dick Williams, while ejecting any number of the game’s elite—once tearing a hamstring in the process. He was the first Jewish umpire in American League history, and probably the first to eject his own father from the officials’ dressing room. But whatever Clark was doing—officiating at Nolan Ryan’s three hundredth win, Cal Ripken’s record breaker, or the “earthquake” World Series of 1989, or braving a labor dispute, an anti-Semitic tirade by a Cy Young Award winner, or a legal imbroglio—it makes for a good story. Called Out but Safe is Clark’s outspoken and often hilarious account of his life in baseball from umpire school through the highlights to the inglorious end of his stellar career. Not just a source of baseball history and lore, Clark’s book also affords a rare look at what life is like for someone who works for the Major Leagues’ other team.