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Victor "Deacon" Delmore (October 21, 1915 in Denmore, PA – June 10, 1960 in Scranton, PA) was a baseball umpire who worked in the National League from 1956 to 1959. He is perhaps best known for his involvement in an incident during a 1959 game where two baseballs were in play at the same time.
Vic began his career in blue in the 1948 KITTY League. He moved up to the Southern Association from 1949 to 1955, then the National League from 1956 to 1959. He had previously pitched in the minor leagues from 1935-1942, averaging 15 wins and under 10 losses in his final three seasons, all with Green Bay.
Delmore was involved in a rather peculiar situation in a game on June 30, 1959, between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. Stan Musial was at the plate, with a count of 3-1. Pitcher Bob Anderson's next pitch was errant, evading catcher Sammy Taylor and rolling all the way to the backstop. Delmore called ball four on the pitcher, however Anderson and Taylor contended that Musial foul tipped the ball.
Because the ball was still in play, and because Delmore was embroiled in an argument with the catcher and pitcher, Musial took it upon himself to try for second base. Seeing that Musial was trying for second, Alvin Dark ran to the backstop to retrieve the ball. The ball wound up in the hands of field announcer Pat Pieper, but Dark ended up getting it back anyway. Absentmindedly, however, Delmore pulled out a new ball and gave it to Sammy Taylor. Anderson finally noticed that Musial was trying for second, took the new ball, and threw it to second baseman Tony Taylor.
To Anderson's disappointment, the ball flew over the Taylor's head into the outfield. Dark, at the same time that Anderson threw the new ball, threw the original ball to shortstop Ernie Banks. Musial, though, did not see Dark's throw and only noticed Anderson's ball fly over the second baseman's head, so he tried to go to third base. On his way there, he was tagged by Banks, and after a delay he was ruled out. Following the season, Delmore's contract was not renewed, undoubtedly in part because of this incident.
Different versions of that story have slightly different details. For example, according to Alvin Dark, Anderson didn't throw the ball - Taylor did. One source says that the ball hit both Taylor and Delmore, while another says it just rolled to the backstop.
How Pat Pieper wound up with the ball has different details among different stories. For example, Dark says that Pieper picked up the ball, and Dark yelled at him to drop it. Another version has it that a batboy picked up the ball and flipped it to Pieper. Surprised by the throw from the batboy, Pieper fumbled the ball and Dark recovered it. The preceding were just a few examples of the inconsistencies in the aforementioned anecdote.
Delmore's umpiring contract was not renewed for the 1960 season by the National League, despite a "deluge" of telegrams from fans who considered his termination unjust. Less than a year after the incident, Vic died at age 44. He was buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery in his hometown. He was survived by his mother Catherine, and by his wife of six months, Sonja Bochmann, a former secretary who had worked at the National League offices.
Alvin Dark, involved in the infamous play, recalled years later, "It was a mess and I really felt sorry for Vic Delmore. … I don't remember everything about it but I do remember everyone laughed at Vic Delmore. That play ruined him, and he was a great fellow and a good umpire."
Vic is part of the Umpires Tour – Go to the Next Stop
“Deacon” is part of the Great Italian American Player Nicknames Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Vic has no baseball cards at TCDB
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