If you’ve worked at or near the professional umpiring ranks for any length of time, you’ve come in contact with “Sarge.” Dick Nelson is his real name, but I never knew his real name. I only knew that some guy named “Sarge” was ripping my ass my last week at Jim Evan’s school back in 1993. Every umpire that came before and that followed has had the same experience.
The 79-year old Nelson is an institution for minor league umpires. He is, in many ways, “the” institution. A former supervisor for MLB Umpires and current advisor to the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring, Nelson has trained
or supervised over 70% of umpires working in the Major Leagues today and his influence over the art of umpiring runs as deep as every minor league and amateur baseball field.
It’s not often you get to speak with someone who quite literally “wrote the book,” but Dick Nelson, along with Jim Evans, wrote the book on the 2-man umpiring system.
Thomas Haywood, who will be providing a series of interviews and photographs he gathered during the Jim Evans European Classic this April in Austria. He has spoken to a number of world umpires about differences in the world game vs the US game as well as the similarities of the game across the globe.
But it all starts with Sarge.
Thanks Thomas for chatting with this 45 year veteran of umpiring and sharing it with UmpTalk!