An Ump and His Dog – Mark Langill
Veteran umpire Bruce Froemming is getting ready to begin his 36th Major League season in 2006, tying the all-time record for longevity set by Hall of Famer Bill Klem. Froemming, who will be at first base for today’s game at Holman Stadium, broke into the Majors on April 6, 1971 at New York’s Shea Stadium. The other umpires that afternoon were Al Barlick, Ed Vargo and Harry Wendelstedt, whose son, Hunter Wendelstedt, is today’s home plate umpire.
This morning, Froemming was on a minor league field, tossing a flying foam disc to his beloved hunting dog, Blue. It’s one of the best sights of Spring Training and those who are used to the voice of authority when umpiring a ballgame, Bruce speaks to the dog in kind tones and is very proud when others give compliments.