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Just because: It was hard to be an umpire in 1940

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Back in the 1940s, our game of baseball --

Wait, let me table the breezy preamble and instead get right to this photo of an ump throwing beefs with an agitated rooter (Getty Images) ...

¡Violencia! Pictured above in manly engagement are umpire George Magerkurth and excitable Brooklyn Dodgers partisan Frank Gernano. Their high-level discussion is the result of a botched call on the part of Magerkurth -- a call that contributed to the Dodgers' being eliminated from the 1940 pennant chase. Note that the onlookers seem disinclined to intervene. Are they not entertained? They probably are.

Here's a Life Magazine write-up on the keelhauling in question ...

Note that there were "curses." Recognize that there were "hard stinging blows."

And now here, again courtesy of Life, is a photo of Gentleman Frank on the occasion of his lucky-best arraignment ...

Before you romanticize our simpler past too much, know that we are discussing a time in which the malaises of the day could make a 21-year-old (he's 21!) look like a pension-qualified dockworker. Thank God they cured whatever that was.

Also, while it's nice that Mr. Gernano was "well-behaved" in court, perhaps, when seeking to impress the magistrate, it's best to wear something other than a sweat-stained "Uncle Dignity," which is a synonym I just made up for "sleeveless undershirt."

 
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