Shag Crawford

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2 – Shag Crawford
Shag Crawford 47901a lg.jpeg
Born (1916-08-30)August 30, 1916
Died July 11, 2007(2007-07-11) (aged 90)
Glen Mills, Pennsylvania
MLB debut 1956
Crew members
Career highlights and awards
"The Battle Of San Francisco"

Henry Charles "Shag" Crawford (August 30, 1916 – July 11, 2007)[1][2] was an American professional 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.

Early life[edit]

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] Crawford married Vivian Gallagher on November 2, 1940, and they had three sons and a daughter, residing in Havertown, Pennsylvania.[5]

He served in the United States Navy during World War II, and was on the destroyer USS Walke (DD-723) 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.[6]

Baseball career[edit]

Crawford was the third base umpire for Sandy Koufax's third no-hitter on June 4, 1964. He was the home plate umpire when one of the most violent brawls in baseball history occurred during a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park on August 22, 1965.[7][8] The incident occurred between Giants pitcher Juan Marichal and Dodgers catcher John Roseboro in the aftermath of the Watts riots near Roseboro's Los Angeles home and while the Dominican Civil War raged in Marichal's home country so emotions were raw.[9]

The Dodgers' Maury Wills led off the game with a bunt single off Giants pitcher Marichal and eventually scored a run.[10] Marichal, a fierce competitor, viewed the bunt as a cheap way to get on base and took umbrage with Wills.[8][9] When Wills came up to bat in the second inning, Marichal threw a pitch directly at Wills sending him sprawling to the ground.[8] Willie Mays then led off the bottom of the second inning for the Giants and Dodgers' pitcher Sandy Koufax threw a pitch over Mays' head as a token form of retaliation.[8][9] In the top of the third inning with two outs, Marichal threw a fastball that came close to hitting Ron Fairly, prompting him to dive to the ground.[9] Marichal's act angered the Dodgers sitting in the dugout and, Crawford then warned both teams that any further retaliations would not be tolerated.[9]

When Marichal came to bat in the third inning, he was expecting Koufax to take further retaliation against him but instead, he was startled when Roseboro's return throw to Koufax after the second pitch either brushed his ear or came close enough for him to feel the breeze off the ball.[11] When Marichal confronted Roseboro about the closeness of his throw, Roseboro came out of his crouch with his fists clenched.[11] Marichal stated afterwards that he thought Roseboro was about to attack him and raised his bat, striking Roseboro at least twice over the head with his bat, opening a two-inch gash that sent blood flowing down the catcher's face that required 14 stitches.[11]

Koufax raced in from the mound to attempt separate them and was joined by the umpires, players and coaches from both teams.[11] Crawford attempted to step between the two players in an effort to defuse the situation.[9] When Marichal stumbled, Crawford saw his opportunity and wrapped both of his arms around Marichal and the two men fell to the ground.[9] A 14-minute brawl ensued on the field before Koufax, Giants captain Willie Mays and other peacemakers restored order.[8]

Crawford ejected Marichal from the game and afterwards, National League president Warren Giles suspended him for eight games (two starts), fined him a then-NL record US$1,750[7][12] (equivalent to $13,300 in 2016),[13] and also forbade him from traveling to Dodger Stadium for the final, crucial two-game series of the season.[11] Roseboro filed a $110,000 damage suit against Marichal one week after the incident but, eventually settled out of court for $7,500.[11]

During Crawford's 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]

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.[14]

Two of Crawford's sons, Jerry Crawford and Joey Crawford, also became sports officials. Jerry was a National League umpire from 1976 until 2010, and Joey was a National Basketball Association referee from 1977 to 2016. 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]

See also[edit]


  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. 1975. p. 33. 
  6. ^ National League Green Book. San Francisco: National League. 1974. p. 30. 
  7. ^ a b Goldstein, Richard (August 20, 2002). "John Roseboro, a Dodgers Star, Dies at 69". New York Times. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Mann, Jack (August 30, 1965). "The Battle Of San Francisco". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 30, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Rosengren, John (2014). "Marichal, Roseboro and the inside story of baseball's nastiest brawl". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 31, 2015. 
  10. ^ "August 22, 1965 Dodgers-Giants box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Marichal clubbing of Roseboro an ugly side of baseball". The Times-News. Associated Press. 22 August 1990. p. 18. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  12. ^ "MLBN Remembers ("Incident at Candlestick")". MLBN-tv. November 17, 2011. 
  13. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Shag Crawford". Archived from the original on 2007-04-10. Retrieved 2007-04-21. 

External links[edit]