I’d like to touch on, again, the Milwaukee Braves dinner held last weekend that honored Bob Uecker. One of the guests of honor was long-time umpire Bruce Froemming.
Froemming worked 37 seasons in the big leagues, working 11 no-hitters. We’re happy if we see one in our lifetime and he was on the field for 11 of them! He worked more than 5,000 games in this career. For those of you scoring at home, that’s a lot of spit in the face from managers across several generations.
I truly wish he could have talked some more, because I bet he has a lot of stories to share. Froemming is much taller than me. I’m 5’6″, but he’s got about 100 pounds on me. He’d have to to stand firm behind the plate when dealing with A-Rod and Jason Varitek jawing at each other down the first base line or when an overzealous manager wanted to give him a piece of his mind.
But wouldn’t it be fun to ask him who the biggest jerk was as a manager, a player and even stadium staff? Which person on the other end of the argument has the worst breath? What was some of the most ridiculous things ever said in an argument? You know some of the arguments are just guys yelling to make it look like they are backing up their teammates.
Froemming started umpiring in the ninth grade when he didn’t make the baseball team. After that, he went from the minors, where he once cleared the press box after the PA announcer and a reporter were yelling at him. How about that for some fire in the belly?
Froemming was one of the most respected umpires in the game, handpicked to sit behind the plate in one-game playoff matchups in 1998 and 1999.
imagine how much baseball he has seen in those 37 years? From the Big Red Machine to the dominating Yankees and the upstart Marlins. He’s watched a game from the flamboyant styles of the 1970s, to the drug use of the 1980s to the performance-enhancing days of today. Maybe he got out at the right time.
Not many think of umpires telling stories, but Froemming must have a million of them and I don’t think he’d be afraid to share them. I’d love to grab a six-pack and sit in a chair with him for a day or three.