Laurence Henry "Dutch" Rennert, Jr. (born June 12, 1930 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin) is a former umpire in Major League Baseball who worked in the National League from 1973 to 1992. He was considered one of the game's most colorful characters, best known for his animated and loud strike calls; similar to the NFL's colorful referee Red Cashion. A 1983 New York Times poll resulted in his selection as the NL's best umpire. He wore uniform number 16 throughout his career.
Reaching the major leagues after umpiring in the Pacific Coast League from 1965 to 1973, Rennert umpired in six National League Championship Series (1977, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1990), two All-Star Games (1979, 1984), and three World Series (1980, 1983, 1989); he was behind the plate when the Oakland Athletics clinched the 1989 World Series title.
He was also the home plate umpire on August 3, 1989 when the Cincinnati Reds set a major league record with 16 hits in the first inning of an 18-2 home victory over the Houston Astros, and the first base umpire that ejected Cincinnati manager Lou Piniella in August 1990, causing Piniella to pull the first base bag from its mooring and fling it into right field twice. After retiring, he headed a group of instructors which held baseball clinics in Paris and Munich in January 1993. He has since participated regularly in the Los Angeles Dodgers' Adult Baseball Camp.
On called strikes to right-handed hitters, Rennert's style was to turn and face in the direction of the first-base dugout, raise his right hand and call "Strike!", take an exaggerated step forward with his left foot (keeping his right planted), and drop to his right knee as he pointed in that direction and called "one!" (or however many strikes there were, even on a called third strike). With left-handed hitters, he wouldn't step forward; he would squat to his right knee as he made the call.
In an April 20, 2012 interview on Comcast TV in Philadelphia former National League President Bill White told local TV personality Larry Kane that an eye exam revealed that Rennert could not see out of his left eye and it couldn't be adjusted with glasses, and "I retired him nicely." White went on to say that he later saw Rennert in Vero Beach, Florida and White said Rennert told him he had done the right thing.
On September 26, 2015, umpire Tom Hallion paid tribute to Rennert (who was in attendance) by calling the first strike in the game between the Miami Marlins and the Atlanta Braves using Rennert's classic strike mechanic.
- "Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp: Dutch Rennert". Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- "Dutch Rennert". Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- Dittmar, Joseph J. (1990). Baseball's Benchmark Boxscores. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. pp. 202–204. ISBN 0-89950-488-4.
- "Lou Piniella Retires". Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- "Baseball Clinics Set for Europe". The New York Times. 15 January 1993. Retrieved 13 August 2010.[dead link]
- "Dutch Rennert Interview, Tom Hallion tribute in Miami". Retrieved 27 September 2015.