Interesting Questions, Facts and Information
- There are a total of 35 general entries. We are selecting 30 for display.
Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
NBC. Ron was hired by NBC Sports producer Mike Weisman to do the color commentary for the regional Game of the Week. Ron worked with Merle Harmon for two seasons, but then NBC did not renew his contract.
|Ron was known for talking to players on the field during a game, and one manager fined his players for talking with Ron. Which manager was it?||Umpire Ron Luciano 
Frank Robinson. Robinson was managing the Cleveland Indians at the time. He fined his players if they talked to Ron on the field. Some players on other teams didn't mind Ron's chatter at all, and some players didn't want him bothering them in a critical situation. Carl Yastrzemski, for example.
Ron's words: "I remember Yaz coming to bat in a gamer situation in Boston in 1976. 33,536 Fenway Park fans were screaming at him, but he didn't hear them. Before I could say a word, he looked at me and said, 'Listen, Ronnie, my kid is hitting .300, my wife is fine, I haven't heard any new jokes, I don't want to know about Polish restaurants, I'm nothing for fifteen and I want you to keep your mouth shut!' What could I say? On the second pitch he hit a home run. As he crossed home plate he looked at me and nodded. 'Okay,' he said, 'you can talk now".
Cleveland. Ron's words: "The first game behind the plate is a milestone for an umpire. It couldn't have gone any better. It was a 2-1 game and I had no controversial calls. Every strike was right down the middle, every ball was two feet outside. At the end of the game the Indians' catcher, Duke Sims, gave me the game ball, a nice baseball tradition. Hey, I thought happily, this is easy. I can do this with my eyes closed (which I was later accused of doing). I said something like that to Honochick. Jim looked at me and smiled knowingly".
Washington D.C.. Ron had been assigned to Jim Honochick's crew and scheduled to work third base at the season opener, but had lost his umpire's uniform. Honochick called in a replacement, but Ron still wanted to work his first game. He put on a black suit, and was finally allowed to work the right-field foul line. Ron's suit turned up the next day.
1965. Ron and Earl met in Reading, Pennsylvania. Weaver was managing the Elmira Pioneers. Ron ejected Earl in all four games of the series. Their relationship went downhill from there. They had a brief vacation from each other when Earl moved up to the majors to manage the Baltimore Orioles, but Ron soon followed, having his contract purchased by the American League in 1968. Ron says: "About the only person who might have been unhappy about my promotion was Earl Weaver. No one could have blamed him if he developed a healthy persecution complex. I'm sure he thought he'd left his problem behind. But here I was. Having me come up to the majors so soon after he got there was something like having the dog eat your birthday cake before you got to blow out the candles".
Ron's feuds with Weaver grew so bad that the American League removed Ron from Baltimore games. Ron's last Weaver ejection took place in June 1979 during a Baltimore Orioles-Chicago White Sox series at Comiskey Park in Chicago. Ron ejected Earl for complaining about Ron's performance behind the plate. After Ron ejected him, Weaver protested the game on the grounds of the "umpire's integrity". He had it announced over the loudspeaker, but lost the protest and was suspended for three games. Ron retired at the end of that season. Earl Weaver continued to argue and harass umpires and be ejected until he retired in 1986. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.
Pinky May. Although any one of them might have been Ron's first, Pinky May won that honor while Ron was umpiring in the Florida State League. In spring training in Lakeland, Ron was having problems behind the plate, missing several calls. May was all over Ron, cursing and screaming at him. Ron's words: "I was terribly upset. He didn't even know me and he was swearing at me. I didn't need him to embarrass me in front of the fans. I was doing a pretty good job of it myself, so I threw him out of the game."
General Manager. Ron was contacted by Spike Briggs in 1963, and offered the job of General Manager of the Detroit Tigers' minor league team. Ron accepted the job, but while in Daytona Beach, he decided to go to Al Somers' Umpire Instructional Course. His idea was just to learn the rules of baseball, but he enjoyed the course so much that instead, he became an umpire.
Detroit Lions & Buffalo Bills. In 1959, Ron was chosen in the second round draft choice by the Baltimore Colts, but was immediately forwarded to the Detroit Lions. Ron spent three years on the disabled list, due to the injuries he suffered during pre-season games each year, tearing up both his shoulder and knee. In 1960, he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings, but he chose instead to go to the Buffalo Bills. In 1962, he managed to make it to the third pre-season game without injury, until he tore up his shoulder again. To quote Ron: "An injury that keeps you out of football for one year is an accident. An injury that keeps you out of football a second year is a shame. An injury that keeps you out of football the third year is a message!"
|In his first book, "The Umpire Strikes Back", Ron mentioned he was looking for his three long-lost cousins, Nina, Fonda and Mary. Did he ever find them?||Umpire Ron Luciano 
Yes. Ron's cousin Mary, saw a photo of Ron in the newspaper when his book became a best-seller. She contacted Nina and Fonda, and a family reunion in Endicott soon followed.
|According to Ron, what is the worst thing that can happen to an umpire on the field during a game?||Umpire Ron Luciano 
Getting booed for blowing a call. Maybe players and managers got used to being booed, but Ron never did. His mother was at one of the games he umpired. She demanded to know what kind of job he had that people booed at him. He tried to lie his way out of it by telling her the crowd was crooning "Rooooon", but she saw right through him. "I'm old, not stupid!" she said.
Billy Martin. Ron had almost as many arguments with Billy Martin as he did with Earl Weaver. Then one night in 1975, when Martin was managing the Yankees, Ron ran into Martin after a game. Martin asked Ron to join him for a drink, and they worked out a lot of their differences. Their truce lasted the entire winter, until the first time Ron had Martin's Yankees in 1976.
|Which umpire played a practical joke on Ron by hiding a battery-operated metronome in the air-conditioning duct of his hotel room?||Umpire Ron Luciano 
George Maloney. Ron hated repetitive sounds like a faucet dripping (or Earl Weaver complaining about balls and strikes, according to Ron). So George Maloney hid a metronome in the duct. Ron searched every inch of his room, asked his partners if they heard the ticking, (which they claimed they didn't, since they were in on the joke), and finally asked for another room, which he couldn't get, as the hotel was full. Ron had to listen to that constant tick, tick, tick, for three days and nights before the batteries finally died. George would also offer chocolate to Ron on the field on the hottest days so that it would melt all over his hands. George would also get up early, take Ron's newspaper, glue some of the pages together, then put it back in front of Ron's hotel room door. Ron retaliated by sewing closed George's shirts, and tying knots in all of his equipment!
Yes. Ron taught at both Al Sommers and in the Umpires Development Program. Ron said that each teacher taught that aspect of the game at which he is best. Ron's expertise was big size. The other instructors told their students to do things exactly opposite of the way that Ron umpired. Actually, Ron was voted one of only two excellent umpires by the American League Association.
Murwood. Evidently Ron felt that you had to be a bit crazy to become an umpire. He and "Murwood" umpired together for many years.
Michael. Ron Michael Luciano was born on June 28, 1937 in Endicott, New York. His father immigrated to America from San Giovanni in Italy around 1927. His mother was born in America. His parents owned a diner and lived over the bar.
He committed suicide. On January 18th, Ron was found dead at age 57 in his garage at his home in Endicott, a victim of suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning. He reportedly suffered from depression for many years, and he was hospitalized for its treatment in early 1994. He was buried at the Calvary Cemetery in Johnson City, New York. It's hard to believe that someone with his marvelous sense of humor would get so depressed that he would choose to take his own life.
Yes. Ron met Polly Dixon through National League umpire John Kibler in Chicago in 1970. They dated for five years and married, but the marriage lasted less than two years. From "The Umpire Strikes Back", Ron says, "The most difficult aspect of an umpire's life is the constant traveling. Umpires are never the home team. For this reason, the divorce rate among umpires is very high. My own brief marriage is part of that statistic."
5. Ron and co-author David Fisher wrote five books together, four of them becoming best-sellers. They are as follows:
"The Umpire Strikes Back"
"The Fall of the Roman Umpire"
"Remembrance of Swings Past"
"Baseball Lite: The Funniest Moments of The 1989 Season"
After reading these books, I certainly changed my opinion of umpires! I stopped expecting umpires to be perfect in their performance on the field and realized that they make mistakes, too. Thanks to Ron Luciano for that!
11. Ron's contract was purchased by the American League in 1968. He umpired until he retired during spring training of 1980, when he was hired by NBC as a broadcaster for the "Game of the Week". But after two years, NBC did not renew his contract.
1963. In 1963, Ron was offered the job of General Manager of the Detroit Lions' minor league team. After accepting the job, Ron decided to take a trip to Florida. There he heard about a baseball school in Daytona Beach. Ron decided to enroll, so he could at least learn the rules of the game. He attended Al Somers' Umpire Instructional Course. From "The Umpire Strikes Back", Ron says, "The instructors looked at me and said I'd make an excellent umpire. They said 'You got good size.' Good size! That should have told me something right there. The aspect I liked best, though, from the very beginning, was that I could be back on the playing field and I didn't have to worry about getting hurt or listening to coaches scream at me." Obviously, Ron had not yet met Earl Weaver or Billy Martin!
Too many injuries. Ron suffered several injuries to both his shoulder and his knee. He even had his arm pulled out of its socket by a player named "Big Daddy" Lipscomb. After three years being on the disabled list, in 1962, while playing in the third preseason game for the Buffalo Bills, Ron tore up his shoulder again. He then retired from playing pro football. He joked about his football career later on, but it deeply affected him, as it had always been his dream to play professional football. In his book, "The Umpire Strikes Back", Ron says, "I wanted a career playing professional ball. Then I could retire, and open a bar!"
Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills. Ron was originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts, but was immediately forwarded to the Detroit Lions to complete an earlier trade for Hall of Fame player Bobby Layne. He was a player-to-be-named-later. In his book, "The Umpire Strikes Back", Ron says, "The fact that the Colts included thirty-five other players and forty million dollars in the deal didn't bother me. In my mind it was Luciano for Layne." Ron was later traded to the Minnesota Vikings, but decided to sign with the Buffalo Bills instead.
1937. Ronald Michael Luciano was born in Binghamton, New York on June 28, 1937. It says on Wikipedia that he was born in Endicott, but in his book, "The Umpire Strikes Back", Ron says he was born in Binghamton. His father passed away when Ron was 11, and he and his two sisters were raised by their mother. Ron attended Syracuse University on a scholarship and played both lacrosse and football. At Syracuse at the time was Football Hall of Fame player Jim Brown. In his book, "The Umpire Strikes Back", Ron says of Jim Brown: "We had a nice friendship. He called me 'Hey You' and I called him 'Mr. Brown'. Years later, I ran into him in Los Angeles. At first he pretended not to know who I was, but then he said, 'Hey You, move over please.' It was nice to see that even after all his success he still remembered his old teammate."