There are 435 members in the House of Representatives. There are 100 United States Senators. There are 68 full time Major League umpires.
If you have enough money saved up, do not have any college YouTube “moments” quietly stored on an old roommate’s hard drive, and can withstand an appearance with Joy Behar on The View, you have a better chance of being elected to our Legislative Branch than becoming a full time Major League arbiter.
Much like the number in the U.S. Senate, the current staff of umpires (68) remains the same – umpires are replaced only when current ones retire or are forced to leave the field for other reasons. Consider this: in the past ten seasons, baseball has only seen four new full time umpires.
That is all about to change as baseball is set to replace five full time umpires in 2010. Four newly appointed umpires will be announced prior to opening day while, due to contractual language in the current collective bargaining agreement, the fifth position will not be announced until the end of the year.
Long time MLB umpires, Ed Montague, Randy Marsh, Rick Reed, Charlie Reliford and Chuck Meriwether recently retired creating the openings.
While it seems likely that it won’t be the first time any one of the new hires have been on a Major League field (the previous four newly hired filled in from the minor leagues for various games), opening day will be a memorable and special day. Players dream of their first time in the Show, while for an umpire, the dream is complete when walking onto the field for the first time – as a full time member of the staff.
I salute all the men in blue who have come before me, and I look forward to welcoming those who will join the ranks of this small, select fraternity – a family of only 68.
Here’s to a long and prosperous career….
Mike Di Muro is a 10 year Major League Umpire. He is the author of the official blog of UMPS CARE Charities. Please leave any questions or comments below.