I have studied many people that umpired baseball games during many years of history. One of the most interesting is Gib Young of Huntington, Indiana.
Mr. Young’s vocation is operating the Gib Young State Farm Insurance agency in Huntington. He also travels the U.S. being a Professional Theodore Roosevelt impressionist. He can become the dead President in the blink of an eye traveling to schools and colleges telling about history events in a one-man theatrical show.

However, his avocation is traveling in three states: Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan umpiring vintage baseball games. Baseball was spelled as two words back in the 1860s.

There are many vintage teams in these three states and one team I have seen play many times is the Huntington Hill Topers. Young has studied baseball umpires (vintage) and when you ask him did these umpires really dress up with long tailcoats, fancy skirts, neckties? His answer is, “They dressed like they were going to spend the day in court.”

Years ago those players were gentleman, no blood to win, social and exercise clubs, fire stations, professional people etc. When the professional players took over (or seized) control of the National Association of Baseball Players the game changed.

Because of much vintage baseball played, there is a National Association, some companies supply equipment and uniforms. The Pride Bat Company of Pendleton, Indiana makes bats and the KP Weaver Company supplied all sorts of materials needed.

Young’s duties as an umpire were to stand to the right or left of the batter about five feet away. He can call strikes if the batter is taking too many good pitches and can ask the cranks (fans) if he thinks he needs help on a close decision. He can administer a 25-cent fine on the spot for players stepping out of line.

On October 6, 2007 the Village of Winona Lake Indiana Blue Laws team sponsored a large tournament of twelve teams and many of the games were played on Billy Sunday’s field.

I would be interested in finding out more about Vintage Baseball umpires.

The Waynedale News Staff

Denver Howard

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