Tag: umpire

Umpire Charlie Daniels, Baseball Pioneer from Hartford

Charles F. Daniels was born in Colchester, Connecticut, on March 13, 1849. He moved to Hartford as a young adult and became a pitcher for the Hartford Amateurs, a club comprised of the city’s best talent. However, the 25 year old Daniels discovered his place to be behind the plate. He began his umpiring career in Hartford officiating minor league, college and amateur games.His professional debut on September 7, 1874, was in a National Association matchup between Hartford and Brooklyn.

Daniels was reported in the newspaper as “Umpire Daniels of Hartford Amateurs.” He would go on to serve 13 seasons as a highly regarded figure in the National Association (1874-1875), the National League (1876, 1878-1880, 1887-1888), and the American Association (1883-1885, 1889). In the early days of professional baseball, Daniels was a top rated umpire. He was popular with most players and fans. He presided over multiple historically significant games. He called two no-hitters; the first in major league history, and the other a perfect game. In 1875, Daniels officially umpired 22 games, all but one as the lone arbiter on the field.

Charles F. Daniels, Umpire of 1888 World Series.

Around midseason, Daniels had a personal dispute with bar owner Matthew M. Coughlin. He once used to work as a barkeeper at Coughlin’s bar on Front Street and rumors spread about Daniels having an affair with Coughlin’s wife. After returning from umpiring a game in New York, Daniels was threatened and chased around downtown Hartford by an enraged Coughlin. In response, Daniels drew a weapon and fired three times in Coughlin’s direction but missed. Daniels was charged for assault with intent to kill but later proven innocent on the grounds of self-defense.

Hartford Courant excerpt, 1875.

When the American Association dissolved in 1876, Daniels latched onto the newly formed National League. That season he called 45 games. Daniels supervised the first no-hitter recognized by Major League Baseball: George Bradley of St. Louis Brown Stockings blanked the Hartford Dark Blues, 2-0 on July 15, 1876. Because he adjudicated so many important big league games as compared to his peers, Daniels became a trusted judge of the game. He earned a reputation as a pioneer of the umpiring craft and his services were in demand.

Daniels was the first umpire to run from home plate to another base to get a better angle on close call. He revolutionized the role of umpire by setting new norms. He was one of the first umpires to wear protective equipment such as shin guards. His expertise was known throughout baseball circles and by the end of 1876, Daniels was summoned to preside over a championship series between Chicago and St. Louis. A special train was sent to collect Daniels and deliver him to St. Louis where he earned $400 with travel expenses paid.

Daniels did not appear as umpire on the major league level in 1877. He then umpired 9 games in 1878 and another 46 games in 1879. He called 28 games in 1880, including the second perfect game in major league history by John Montgomery Ward. Daniels did not umpire once again during 1881 or 1882. He returned for the 1883 season with the American Association, often earning $10 per game.

His game totals increased significantly in the next few years. Daniels umpired 91 games in 1884 and stayed with the American Association until 1885. While in the midst of a famous umpiring career, Daniels opted for a change of roles. In 1886 and 1887, he became manager of the Hartford Base Ball Club in the Eastern League. During this time, Daniels was credited with scouting a young catcher named Connie Mack but later sold him to Washington.

Hartford Courant excerpt, 1890.

In 1888, Daniels resumed umpiring and compiled a career high of 110 games. During his final season as a professional umpire in 1889, he officiated 19 contests for the American Association. His career totals equaled 504 games over 13 seasons. Without official baseball duties, Daniels seemed to lose hope. He suffered from a serious case of alcoholism and in 1890, Daniels checked into the Hartford Retreat and made a recovery. In 1897, Daniels made a comeback as Hartford’s alternate umpire in the Atlantic League.

Hartford Courant excerpt, 1896.
Hartford Courant excerpt, 1896.

At the time of the 1930 U.S. Census, Daniels was living in a rented home on Parham Road in Colchester with his brother Robert. His occupation was noted as a farmer. Then he moved in with his brother Eugene on a farm in Colchester off of New London-Hartford Road. On March 21, 1932, Daniels was found lying unconscious in a ditch where he had apparently fallen during a snowstorm. A head wound and exposure to the elements resulted in his death two days later. Umpire Charlie Daniels died at Backus Hospital in Norwich, Connecticut, at the age of 83.

Hartford Courant column about Umpire Daniels, 1923.

“Don’t spring a book of rules on me and expose your ignorance. You know you can’t read.”

Umpire Charlie Daniels to Kid Gleason in 1894.
Gravestone of Charles F. Daniels in Linwood Cemetery, Colchester, Connecticut.

Sources
1. Hartford Courant Database accessed on Newspapers.com
2. Baseball-Reference.com

Barry Chasen Ballpark in Windsor

FORMER HIGH SCHOOL COACH AND GHTBL HALL OF FAMER EARNS A GREAT HONOR.

Reposted article from Journal Inquirer by Joe Chaisson 

WINDSOR — It was a joyous occasion Saturday as town officials, current and former players and coaches, and family and friends honored Barry Chasen, dedicating the ballpark outside the high school in his honor.

Chasen, who turns 73 this month, was the head coach of the high school’s baseball team from 1975 to 2003 while also teaching social studies for 36 years.

The ceremony was scheduled to take place in March during the season, head coach Joe Serfass said, but had to be rescheduled because of the pandemic. The afternoon, however, offered warm baseball-type weather.

Many of the former coaches and friends in attendance called Chasen a “walking encyclopedia” for baseball. During his speech, Chasen rarely spoke of himself, but instead attributed his coaching career to a long list of coaches he worked with during his career. Chasen concluded the speech by thanking his wife, Joanne, and son, Matthew, for all their support.

Chasen led the school to a state championship title in 1979 and again in 1991.

Before the ceremony began, Chasen said he was incredibly pleased to be recognized by the town and the high school.

Barry Chasen addresses the media at Barry Chasen Ballpark outside the high school, 2020.

“I feel really good about this. Obviously, it’s been tough the last eight months, but the turnout today has been really nice. It’s a nice tribute and certainly I feel very honored to see my name up there on the sign,” Chasen said.

“I didn’t go into coaching for that though, and you don’t get here by yourself, so it’s thanks to all the people who have helped me out between players, coaches, administrators, town people, parents, and many more.

James Apicelli, who coached with Chasen from 1998 to 2003, said Chasen was the ultimate coach.

“I think the best part about coaching with Barry was we would always come back after the game, we’d go into the coaches office, and we’d sit down for hours after games and go over in-game details. It wasn’t to criticize or anything, we would look at every decision that was made during the game and he’d ask if we should have done things differently.”

Mayor Don Trinks said Chasen is much more than just a baseball coach.

“When you think about his tenure as a coach and all the lives he’s impacted and the success of young people that he helped mold and create — he’s really contributed so much to the town and certainly in many other ways than just baseball,” Trinks said.

Trinks credited Chasen with inspiring him to get involved with politics after Chasen was his teacher during the Jimmy Carter presidency.

“He really gave me a peek into the political and government world,” Trinks said. “I can’t go as far as to say he made me go into government, but he certainly had an impact on that decision so I imagine he’s impacted a lot of other students in the past the same way.”

Serfass, who’s been with the school since 2010, said he was happy to see the field finally completed with the addition of the new sign.

“Unfortunately, when I came here the field was one of the worst in the state,” Serfass said. “There were no dugouts, no fencing, no scoreboard, no press box, and the infield was in bad shape. We finally renovated it about six years ago and redid everything and it’s an honor to have Coach Chasen on the sign.”

Signage at Barry Chasen Ballpark, 2020.


Click Here to Watch the Barry Chasen Ballpark News Story by NBC Connecticut / Xfinity Sportsdesk on Instagram.