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art passarella, 1961 NuCard scoops #464, umpire

Player: Passarella, Art

Card: 1961 NuCard Scoops #464

Position: Umpire

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Arthur Matthew Passarella was born on December 23, 1909, in Rochester, New York. He was the eldest of four children, and around his tenth birthday his family moved to Los Angeles.

Not having the skill to be a pro baseball player, and an injured knee, resulted in Art turning to umpiring. By 1941, Passarella was umpiring in the AL. He quickly developed a reputation as a top-flight arbiter, but he was prone to the kind of freak on-field mishaps that characterized his career. For example, during the 1942 season, a foul tip off the bat of the Red Sox’ Bobby Doerr left him with a broken mask, a cut lip and nose, and a pair of chipped teeth.

In 1943 and 1944 he served in the Army. Upon returning to MLB, Passarella developed his own on-field style — and it was anything but low-key - Passarella occasionally was excessively theatrical.

Passarella was at the center of a controversial play that occurred in the fifth game of the 1952 World Series. The Yankees were playing the Dodgers, and Passarella was the first-base ump. The series was tied at two games apiece and the game - in which Brooklyn starter Carl Erskine retired 19 straight Yankees - was tied, 5-5, in the bottom of the tenth inning. Yankee hurler Johnny Sain led off against Erskine and grounded to Jackie Robinson at second. Robby fielded the ball and threw it to Gil Hodges, Brooklyn’s first sacker. It seemed that Sain was safe, but Passarella called him out.

Sain and first-base coach Bill Dickey vehemently protested, but to no avail. The Dodgers won the game in the next inning, with Duke Snider doubling home the winning run. Afterward, photos of the play clearly indicated that Passarella had blown the call (as per the Card above). Passarella abruptly retired in 1953, some feel he was driven out by the backlash against the blown call, prompting sportswriter Dick Young to say snarkily: "It turns out, that Erskine didn’t really retire 19 straight Yankees. He retired 18 Yankees and one umpire."

After his career, he was the umpire on the program "Home Run Derby". He was also an actor. His most famous role was as Sergeant Sekuvolich in "The Streets of San Francisco", but he also appeared in "Damn Yankees" and "Judgment at Nuremberg".

(excerpted from Wikipedia, BR Bullpen and SABR)


image from SABR
Umpire Card courtesy of Retrosheet.org


Art Passarella is part of the Van Lingle Mungo Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop

Art is also part of the Military Service during Wartime Tour – go to the Next Stop


Art is also part of the Umpires Tour – Go to the Next Stop

Art has no baseball cards listed at TCDB

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