Library of Congress

The time two umpires almost got blackmailed over a hookup with strippers


I didn’t put “must-click link” in the headline because there wasn’t room, but I kinda doubt I need to tell you that you need to click on this link, which takes you to a wonderful story by William Ryczek over at The National Pastime Museum.

The short version: in 1960 two big league umpires, Ed Runge and Bill McKinley, went to a strip club after working an Orioles game and met a couple of dancers. The next night, after working a game in Washington, the dancers invited them to their hotel room back in Maryland. Runge and McKinley went. After things started to get . . . a little intimate, a couple of goons broke into the room and snapped photos of it all.

Anyone who has seen “L.A. Confidential” knows that it was a shakedown from the start. One in which, in lieu of cash, the blackmailers suggested that Runge and McKinley help throw a baseball game. That, my friends, is about as much deep trouble you can imagine an umpire getting into.

So what happened? What did Runge and McKinley do? You have to go read the story to find out.

Baseball to honor Stoneman Douglas High School as spring training games begin

New Era

There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.

The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.

All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.

After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.

Here’s today’s schedule: