Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thoughts on the late, flamboyant, never boring Ron Luciano

I’m currently reading The Umpire Strikes Back, a comical autobiography of the late MLB American League umpire Ron Luciano. Hilarious. For all the self-deprecating comments (especially about his umpiring skills), Luciano apparently was a very good umpire. I’ve laughed out loud several times while reading it, one of my favorite parts being the time Luciano was angry, cussed out Billy Martin and then tossed Martin from the game and how he had to take a 50/50 shot at a foul home run that he lost sight of.

Sadly, Luciano died in 1995. He was found behind the wheel of his car inside his garage—later ruled a suicide. As I laugh at this book and think of how funny Luciano was, it’s sad to think that there was a degree of tragedy there. Reportedly, Luciano wrote in a note to a relative that it was just his time to go.

I was surprised also to read in the book that though he didn’t get along with Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver (Luciano ejected Weaver from all four of the first games he umpired), he had a great deal of respect for Weaver as a manager. Luciano also later became good friends with Martin.

I miss your humor, Ron.

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