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Hall of Fame umpire Doug Harvey talks to Redbird Rants


On March 27th, Hall of Fame umpire Doug Harvey spoke with Redbird Rants. Harvey’s memoir They Called Me God was published in late March.
Image courtesy of Gallery Books
Daniel Solzman: Thanks for joining Redbird Rants today. How are things treating you out in California?

Doug Harvey: Oh, no problem.

Daniel Solzman: I’ve been reading your book, They Called Me God, and really enjoying it. You were inspired by Don Larsen’s perfect game to become a professional umpire. Did you ever think you would have a plaque in the halls of Cooperstown one day?

Doug Harvey: No, heavens. That was the last thought in my mind.

Daniel Solzman: You were the ninth out of ten umpires to have been elected into the Hall. Why do you think that there are so few umpired inducted and who do you think is worthy of induction in the future?

Doug Harvey: Oh, my goodness. That is a really tough call. It’s a tough one. They put them with the managers. It’s a tough category. I don’t know what to tell you. You got Joe West right now. I just don’t know what they base it on. I have no idea.

Daniel Solzman: You were an umpire during the game in which Roberto Clemente got his 3,000th career hit and handed him the ball. You also were behind the plate when Kirk Gibson hit his pinch-hit home run in the 1988 World Series, amongst others. Of all the games that you worked, is there one play or hit that really stands out

Doug Harvey: No. (Laughs) Isn’t that terrible? I loved every game I ever umpired. I loved the arguments. I loved everything about umpiring and to think about one certain play or one certain thing to happen, I really don’t have anything like that.

Daniel Solzman: What are your thoughts on the addition of instant replay and do you think it will slow down the game?

Doug Harvey: Oh, absolutely. I hate the thought of it. Baseball is an imperfect game. You don’t have anybody playing the game that’s perfect. You don’t have anybody umpiring the game that’s perfect.

Darn it. I’m going to tell you something. I miss the good old argument. Now you don’t get the argument. What you get is “Come over here, ump, I want to talk to you.” It seems to me like this, “Well, I want to go ask my partners…No, we talked it over. There’s no way.” I hate that. Give me a good old argument.

Daniel Solzman: Between Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzog, and Tony La Russa, is there a memory that really stands out while umpiring a Cardinals game?

Doug Harvey: Oh, sure. You just named three hot shot managers. Whitey gave me a cap. I know that. Sent a cap in with “We’ll get along fine when you realize I’m God.” After that (Laughs)

Daniel Solzman: Thanks again for joining Redbird Rants today.

Doug Harvey: My pleasure. Thank you.