Saturday, July 03, 1999

Umpire Hallion suspended

The Associated Press

Umpire Tom Hallion throws a foul ball during Friday's Reds game.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        NEW YORK — Here's a twist: An umpire has been suspended for bumping a player.

        Tom Hallion was suspended for three games without pay by NL President Len Coleman on Friday for his actions during an argument with Colorado catcher Jeff Reed and pitching coach Milt May last weekend.

        Hallion, who is umpiring the Reds-Astros series in Cincinnati this weekend, declined comment Friday. His suspension is scheduled to start July 9.

        While penalties against players are common, baseball officials couldn't recall another suspension of an umpire for an on-field dispute. But they also could not rule out that it happened before.

        In 1990, NL President Bill White was prepared to suspend umpire Joe West for slamming Philadelphia pitcher Dennis Cook to the field, but Commissioner Fay Vincent intervened and no discipline was imposed.

        The dispute last Saturday began when Rockies pitcher Mike DeJean, while walking to his dugout after an inning, complained to third base umpire Terry Tata about a check-swing call. Hallion, who was working at home plate during the game in San Diego, told DeJean to get in the dugout.

        DeJean said he told Hallion he was going to the dugout. At that point, DeJean and manager Jim Leyland were ejected. During the ensuing argument, it appeared Hallion made contact with Reed and May, a charge Tata denied after the game on Hallion's behalf.

        Umpires contended the penalty resulted from internal politics in baseball. Commissioner Bud Selig wants to switch authority over umpires next year from the leagues to Sandy Alderson, an executive vice president in the commissioner's office.

        “There's been some concern that umpires are out of control, which were sentiments by Bud Selig and Sandy Alderson, and I think Len is falling into that trap,” umpires president Jerry Crawford said.

        Hallion is appealing the penalty, and Coleman will hold a hearing Thursday in Philadelphia, where the umpires' union is located. When players are suspended for on-field disputes, league presidents also hear the appeals.

        “We probably will be wasting our time,” Crawford said.


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