Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Saturday, June 11, 2022

MLB umpire rankings: Pat Hoberg is baseball’s most accurate ump

Some umpires are very good at calling balls and strikes. The article includes a list of the best. Spoiler. Angel Hernandez is not on the list.

jimfurtado Posted: June 11, 2022 at 11:32 AM | 37 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: umpires

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. shoelesjoe Posted: June 11, 2022 at 12:18 PM (#6081252)
Articles like this raise the question as to why umpiring crews rotate around the field, rather than keeping the guys who are good at calling balls and strikes behind the plate. Have one ump whose primary position is home plate, with another good strike zone guy on the crew to spell him once or twice a week. Let the Angel Hernandez / CB Bucknor types work the infield spots where their bad calls can at least be subject to replay challenges.
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: June 11, 2022 at 12:22 PM (#6081253)
Articles like this raise the question as to why umpiring crews rotate around the field, rather than keeping the guys who are good at calling balls and strikes behind the plate. Have one ump whose primary position is home plate, with another good strike zone guy on the crew to spell him once or twice a week.


Because no one wants to work home plate five days a week. Working behind the plate is like catching, only for both teams.
   3. shoelesjoe Posted: June 11, 2022 at 12:31 PM (#6081254)
Working behind the plate is like catching, only for both teams.


Oh c’mon. It can’t be that physically taxing to crouch behind the catcher for nine innings. They might have to sprint to make a call at third base a couple times a week, but for the most part they’re plopped in the same spot the whole game.
   4. The Duke Posted: June 11, 2022 at 12:36 PM (#6081255)
3. You forgot to use the sarcasm font
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: June 11, 2022 at 12:58 PM (#6081257)
Oh c’mon. It can’t be that physically taxing to crouch behind the catcher for nine innings. They might have to sprint to make a call at third base a couple times a week, but for the most part they’re plopped in the same spot the whole game.


They're wearing the same equipment as the catcher, only for twice as long. They have to crouch to call the pitches, just not as much. They're involved in hundreds of calls over the course of a game, rather than as few as zero.

You would have to pay them an awful lot more money to work behind the plate every game rather than handle it once every four days.
   6. Brian C Posted: June 11, 2022 at 01:07 PM (#6081259)
Plus they get nailed by foul tips with regular frequency. Even with the gear, it's not like that's an *awesome* feeling.
   7. KronicFatigue Posted: June 11, 2022 at 01:29 PM (#6081262)
I only umped little league, but doing the bases was basically a mini vacation compared to doing the plate.

EDIT: Oh, and besides the physical aspect, there's a mental drain over having to pay attention behind the plate for EVERY pitch.
   8. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 11, 2022 at 02:54 PM (#6081267)
could they rotate the home plate ump throughout the game e.g. every three inn? Assuming of course that only the best ball/strike guys get to work the plate
   9. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 11, 2022 at 03:15 PM (#6081268)
According to the Hall of Fame web site, Bill Klem "spent the first 16 years of his career behind the plate because of his superior ability to call balls and strikes." Klem umpired for 37 years, so he obviously didn't work exclusively behind the plate in later seasons. His wiki page (yes, I know it's wiki) states "he was the last umpire to work the plate exclusively."
   10. Brian C Posted: June 11, 2022 at 04:26 PM (#6081277)
His wiki page (yes, I know it's wiki) states "he was the last umpire to work the plate exclusively."

And see? He's dead now. As if we need any more proof that it's a bad idea.
   11. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 11, 2022 at 04:27 PM (#6081278)
Hoberg was calling the Yankees - Cubs game last night, and he missed a good 15 or 20 ball and strike calls, including a 3-2 pitch that changed a 2 on / nobody out situation for the Cubs into a strike em out / throw em out double play that killed a potential Cubs' rally. I was watching the YES broadcast, and the Yankees announcers were in total disbelief over a call that wasn't within sniffing distance of the strike zone. He was consistently calling strikes that were low and / or outside, and then calling balls that were well below the top end of the zone. If Hoberg's the best home plate umpire in MLB, I'd hate to see who's the worst.

   12. SoSH U at work Posted: June 11, 2022 at 04:35 PM (#6081280)
According to the Hall of Fame web site, Bill Klem "spent the first 16 years of his career behind the plate because of his superior ability to call balls and strikes."


Having worked behind the plate for a few summers, I can't even imagine that.
   13. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 11, 2022 at 05:36 PM (#6081292)
In Bill Klem's first 16 years of umpiring, there were only 2 umpires per game on the field, and only 10 umpires per league overall. Only World Series games used 4 umpires, and even that didn't begin until 1909.

Klem's most famous quote was "In my heart, I never called one wrong." I'm sure Joe West and Angel Hernandez would say the same thing.
   14. Lassus Posted: June 11, 2022 at 06:13 PM (#6081299)
Hoberg was calling the Yankees - Cubs game last night, and he missed a good 15 or 20 ball and strike calls, including a 3-2 pitch that changed a 2 on / nobody out situation for the Cubs into a strike em out / throw em out double play that killed a potential Cubs' rally. I was watching the YES broadcast, and the Yankees announcers were in total disbelief over a call that wasn't within sniffing distance of the strike zone. He was consistently calling strikes that were low and / or outside, and then calling balls that were well below the top end of the zone. If Hoberg's the best home plate umpire in MLB, I'd hate to see who's the worst.


You're about at Newsmax on Hillary objectivity level on umpire balls and strikes.
   15. TomH Posted: June 11, 2022 at 06:31 PM (#6081301)
Umpires avg age is probably 10-15 yrs above MLB players. And waists many inches wider. You don't want them umping the plate every day.
   16. Traderdave Posted: June 11, 2022 at 06:44 PM (#6081302)
I've never heard of him, so he has to be at least very good if not the best.

Any ump whose name you know is a bad ump
   17. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 11, 2022 at 09:34 PM (#6081314)
You're about at Newsmax on Hillary objectivity level on umpire balls and strikes.

So when the YES announcers were showing how the Cubs had been royally dicked, were they secretly on the Cubs' payroll? Or was that just a false flag comment?
   18. Space Force fan Posted: June 11, 2022 at 10:59 PM (#6081329)
You're about at Newsmax on Hillary objectivity level on umpire balls and strikes.


I had the game on as background with the sound off, occasionally glancing at the screen to see what was happening. On one play, the Cub's batter struck out while the runner was attempting to steal. The thing that caught my attention was that the runner stopped running about half-way to second and jogged into the base, easily being thrown out. I turned on the sound to see what caused the strange play as the Cub's announcers were saying that the runner "thought it was ball four". I didn't see a replay of the pitch, but it must have been pretty obviously a ball if a baserunner would stop running because he saw it while looking back at the plate to see what the batter did.
   19. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: June 11, 2022 at 11:40 PM (#6081340)
Oh c’mon. It can’t be that physically taxing to crouch behind the catcher for nine innings.


Try it. Then get back to us.

I only umped little league, but doing the bases was basically a mini vacation compared to doing the plate.


I did high school. The games were only 7 innings, but this was very much true. I would much rather sprint around the bases in a 2 man crew than be essentially immobile but wearing all that gear.
   20. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 11, 2022 at 11:57 PM (#6081342)
I had the game on as background with the sound off, occasionally glancing at the screen to see what was happening. On one play, the Cub's batter struck out while the runner was attempting to steal. The thing that caught my attention was that the runner stopped running about half-way to second and jogged into the base, easily being thrown out. I turned on the sound to see what caused the strange play as the Cub's announcers were saying that the runner "thought it was ball four". I didn't see a replay of the pitch, but it must have been pretty obviously a ball if a baserunner would stop running because he saw it while looking back at the plate to see what the batter did.

That's exactly the play I was talking about, the one with the called third strike that even the Yankees' announcers couldn't believe. Completely kiboshed a Cubs' rally in the bud. For a supposedly "best" umpire, he had a personalized strike zone to end all personalized strike zones.
   21. John Northey Posted: June 12, 2022 at 12:38 AM (#6081346)
I want to see crowds start to chant 'roboump now!' whenever a really bad ball-strike call happens. Way past time for roboumps imo.
   22. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: June 12, 2022 at 12:26 PM (#6081356)
FWIW, the Cubs/Yankees game in question. That looks
   23. VCar Posted: June 12, 2022 at 12:29 PM (#6081357)
in the youth league where I coach, we run 2 games per night on a field, and the 2 umps always rotate between games. we take 15 min between games so they can gear up.
when there's only 1 game, we play the plate ump more than the field ump just because he has more calls to make.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2022 at 02:05 PM (#6081363)
I want to see crowds start to chant 'roboump now!' whenever a really bad ball-strike call happens. Way past time for roboumps imo.

Do we know that they work? How are the experiments in A-ball going?

You better be damn sure they work. Introducing massive systematic bias would be far worse than the idiosyncratic errors we see today.
   25. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 12, 2022 at 03:49 PM (#6081387)
snapper, they could be 100% accurate and you'd still find a reason to oppose them.

BTW are you against replay?
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2022 at 04:01 PM (#6081388)
snapper, they could be 100% accurate and you'd still find a reason to oppose them.

You'd be in favor of robo umps if they led to 17Ks/9 and 2 runs/game scoring, ruining the game, because you have a hobby horse of consistency.

Define accurate. As long as robo umps are seemless (i.e. no extra delay) I'm not opposed. I just think they won't work. Let's see it for a whole AAA season, and give the data to independent analysts to crunch the numbers.

BTW are you against replay?

Yes. I was always opposed, and have been proved 100% right. Needless delay for very little improvement, and weird change to the game, like playing for a millimeter of separation from the base.
   27. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 12, 2022 at 05:05 PM (#6081401)
snapper, they could be 100% accurate and you'd still find a reason to oppose them.

You'd be in favor of robo umps if they led to 17Ks/9 and 2 runs/game scoring, ruining the game, because you have a hobby horse of consistency.


Is that all they'd do? They wouldn't also groom the players' children?

More seriously, if you look at those umpires' scorecards, you'll see that incorrectly called strikes outnumber incorrectly called balls by quite a substantial margin.

Define accurate.

Calling pitches accurately according to the rulebook strike zone, allowing for adjustments of the zone if it negatively impacts the outcomes.

As long as robo umps are seemless (i.e. no extra delay) I'm not opposed. I just think they won't work. Let's see it for a whole AAA season, and give the data to independent analysts to crunch the numbers.

That's fine with me, as long as they make the data public and define how they arrived at their conclusions.

BTW are you against replay?

Yes. I was always opposed, and have been proved 100% right. Needless delay for very little improvement, and weird change to the game, like playing for a millimeter of separation from the base.


I'd give it more of a mixed grade. On the one hand, it corrects blatantly bad calls. OTOH I also detest appeals that come from micro-oversliding a base. I simply wouldn't allow such appeals in the first place. And in general the current replay system simply takes too long.

But robo-umps for balls and strikes shouldn't add any time at all to the game, as the home plate umpire would become a human robot who'd get his instructions and immediate pass them on. If you're against all forms of replay and want to return to the Denkinger era, I won't argue with that, as it's a consistent philosophical position. What I can't see is favoring time consuming replays for calls on the field that are almost never gotten wrong, while opposing a much quicker solution for calls that are made incorrectly up to and over 15 or 20 times a game.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2022 at 05:15 PM (#6081403)
But robo-umps for balls and strikes shouldn't add any time at all to the game, as the home plate umpire would become a human robot who'd get his instructions and immediate pass them on. If you're against all forms of replay and want to return to the Denkinger era, I won't argue with that, as it's a consistent philosophical position. What I can't see is favoring time consuming replays for calls on the field that are almost never gotten wrong, while opposing a much quicker solution for calls that are made incorrectly up to and over 15 or 20 times a game.

If robo umps don't add delay, and don't screw up the game, I'm 100% on board. If we're going to have to wait even a few seconds before each pitch call, I'm a hard no.

I'm 100% against replays. No sport gets them right. The NFL's is an embarrassment. Made them change the definition of a catch.
   29. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: June 12, 2022 at 05:16 PM (#6081406)
OTOH I also detest appeals that come from micro-oversliding a base. I simply wouldn't allow such appeals in the first place.


How would you objectively apply that rule?
   30. Carl Gonzales Posted: June 12, 2022 at 09:40 PM (#6081436)

How would you objectively apply that rule?


I would say replay show be game speed only. Don’t allow slow motion replay. Use whatever camera angles that are available but keep it at game speed.
   31. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 12, 2022 at 10:55 PM (#6081448)
OTOH I also detest appeals that come from micro-oversliding a base. I simply wouldn't allow such appeals in the first place.

How would you objectively apply that rule?


I'd just disallow any kind of replay appeals that are grounded in a runner oversliding a base after he's already beaten the throw. If the umpire calls him out for oversliding, that's fine, but if he misses the overslide and calls him safe, then that's also fine, and no appeal allowed in either case. I don't think it's worth delaying the game just to determine whether or not a player's foot or hand came off the base for a fraction of an inch for a fraction of a second. If it's blatant I think the umpire will get it right in the first place.
   32. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 13, 2022 at 08:42 AM (#6081468)
More seriously, if you look at those umpires' scorecards, you'll see that incorrectly called strikes outnumber incorrectly called balls by quite a substantial margin.


Cool, so roboumps is going to create even greater incentive for batters not to swing. Awesome.

Calling pitches accurately according to the rulebook strike zone, allowing for adjustments of the zone if it negatively impacts the outcomes.


Because MLB is going to act swiftly and decisively to fix an obvious problem? I guess given the way they've addressed time of game issues that shouldn't be a problem.

Like snapper I'm on board if it's going to work, I'm not sold that it is.
   33. BDC Posted: June 13, 2022 at 08:58 AM (#6081470)
Roboumping is guaranteed to replace "That umpire's been squeezing me with his calls all night" with "That guy in the booth who sets the robozone has been squeezing me all season." But with no human immediately present to argue with, maybe some of the jawing and friction and slow working subsides and the game moves quicker, the complaining gets transferred to postgame interviews.
   34. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 13, 2022 at 09:47 AM (#6081475)
Cool, so roboumps is going to create even greater incentive for batters not to swing. Awesome.

Or it might just, ya know, incentivize pitchers to throw the ball over the plate, where batters are much more likely to make contact.

Or do you think batters flailing at pitches outside the strike zone reduces the number of strikeouts?

-------

Roboumping is guaranteed to replace "That umpire's been squeezing me with his calls all night" with "That guy in the booth who sets the robozone has been squeezing me all season." But with no human immediately present to argue with, maybe some of the jawing and friction and slow working subsides and the game moves quicker, the complaining gets transferred to postgame interviews.

Yeah, I'd love to see players shouting up at the camera booth, the way that Ted Williams would sometimes cross home plate at spit in the direction of the writers. But yes, the lack of game-delaying shouting matches and ejections would also be a benefit of the robo-umps.
   35. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 13, 2022 at 10:09 AM (#6081476)
I'm looking forward to going to instant replay to see if the defense was in an illegal shift.

Five minutes of bullshit three times a game.

   36. Traderdave Posted: June 13, 2022 at 12:54 PM (#6081483)
While I disagree with Snapper on almost every area of controversy in public policy and life off the diamond, I agree with him on almost every baseball controversy.

So I guess you're halfway there, S!
   37. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 13, 2022 at 01:11 PM (#6081486)
Well, at least he's a Yankees fan, so he can't be all bad.....USA! USA! USA!

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
phredbird
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogEjected Twins manager Rocco Baldelli blasts overturned call in loss to Jays as 'one of the worst moments' of umpiring he has ever seen
(3 - 5:39pm, Aug 08)
Last: SoSH U at work

NewsblogOMNICHATTER for the week of August 8-15, 2022
(10 - 5:37pm, Aug 08)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogSt. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs to play 2-game series in June of 2023 in London
(29 - 5:00pm, Aug 08)
Last: Karl from NY

NewsblogPete Rose brushes off question about alleged sex with minor: ‘It was 55 years ago, babe’
(64 - 4:56pm, Aug 08)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogRed Sox announcer and Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley to retire from NESN after the 2022 season
(8 - 4:49pm, Aug 08)
Last: Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful

Newsblog2022 NBA Playoffs thread
(4082 - 3:10pm, Aug 08)
Last: tshipman

NewsblogDorktown: How to score 10 runs in the first inning and lose
(6 - 2:50pm, Aug 08)
Last: Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome

NewsblogGuardians designate Franmil Reyes, their Opening Day cleanup hitter, for assignment
(6 - 2:38pm, Aug 08)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

NewsblogOMNICHATTER for the week of August 1-7, 2022
(393 - 2:01pm, Aug 08)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogAtlanta Braves sending struggling right-handed starting pitcher Ian Anderson to minors
(5 - 1:58pm, Aug 08)
Last: My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo

NewsblogMiguel Cabrera of Detroit Tigers clarifies stance on future, says he'll return next season as initially planned
(9 - 11:54am, Aug 08)
Last: Jobu is silent on the changeup

NewsblogThe Baseball Stadium That “Forever Changed” Professional Sports
(36 - 11:01am, Aug 08)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogVerlander's latest gem cashes $25 million option for '23
(12 - 10:55am, Aug 08)
Last: Ithaca2323

NewsblogDidi Gregorius cut after disastrous Phillies tenure
(76 - 7:09am, Aug 08)
Last: Cooper Nielson

NewsblogBoston Red Sox release outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
(14 - 1:04am, Aug 08)
Last: Walt Davis

Page rendered in 0.4103 seconds
46 querie(s) executed