Shag Crawford

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Henry Charles "Shag" Crawford (August 30, 1916 – July 11, 2007)[1][2] was an American umpire in Major League Baseball who worked in the National League from 1956 to 1975.[3] During his twenty seasons in the National League, Crawford worked more than 3,100 games and as a home plate umpire was notable for getting in a low crouch and resting his hands on the back of the catcher in front of him.[4] Crawford wore number 2 after the National League adopted numbers for its umpires, which was then transferred to his son Jerry Crawford, who wore it from 1976 until his 2010 retirement.

Crawford was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Growing up, he played baseball and football and was involved in boxing, and later played in the minor leagues as a catcher in the Philadelphia Phillies' system.[4] He served in the United States Navy during World War II, and was on the destroyer Walke when its bridge was struck by a Japanese kamikaze on January 6, 1945 during the invasion of Luzon, in which commanding officer George Fleming Davis suffered fatal injuries and was awarded the Medal of Honor. Crawford became a minor league umpire in 1950, working for two months in the Canadian-American League before moving to the Eastern League from 1951 to 1953 and the American Association in from 1954 to 1955; his contract was purchased by the National League in November 1955.[5]

During his career, he officiated three World Series (1961, 1963, 1969), ejecting Baltimore manager Earl Weaver in Game 4 of the 1969 Series for arguing balls and strikes, the first managerial ejection in World Series competition since 1935, two National League Championship Series (1971, 1974), and All-Star Games in 1959 (first game), 1961 (first game) and 1968; he worked behind the plate for the 1968 All-Star Game.[1] On June 4, 1964, he was the third base umpire for Sandy Koufax's third no-hitter. Crawford was relieved of his duties in 1975 for refusing to work the World Series that year, due to a rotational system implemented for selection of World Series umpires, over the traditional assignment by merit.[6]

Crawford married Vivian Gallagher on November 2, 1940, and they had three sons and a daughter, residing in Haverford, Pennsylvania;[7] two of their sons, Jerry and Joey, also became sports officials. Jerry was a National League umpire from 1976 until 2010, and Joey has been a National Basketball Association referee since 1977. Shag Crawford worked the first game at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium in 1971 and stood with Jerry at home plate when the lineup cards were presented before the final game at the ballpark in 2003.[3]

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  1. ^ a b "Shag Crawford". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  2. ^ "Longtime umpire Crawford dies at 90". Associated Press. 2007-07-12. Retrieved 2007-07-12. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b Fitzpatrick, Frank (2007-07-13). "Umpire Shag Crawford dies". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2007-07-14. 
  4. ^ a b Didtler, Mark (2007-07-12). "Nickname always suited Shag". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2007-07-15. [dead link]
  5. ^ National League Green Book. San Francisco: National League. 1974. p. 30. 
  6. ^ "Shag Crawford". Retrieved 2007-04-21. 
  7. ^ National League Green Book. San Francisco: National League. 1975. p. 33. 

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