Center Field on Fire

Overview

Simply put, Dave Phillips has seen it all throughout his remarkable 32-year umpiring career. Few people, if any, have been involved in as many historic, controversial, and just plain peculiar incidents on a baseball diamond. Among the more notable games Phillips worked was the infamous Disco Demolition Night in Chicago in 1979. He emerged from the umpires' dressing room expecting to start the second game of a doubleheader, only to find that thousands of fans had coverged on the field and portions of the outfield ...
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Overview

Simply put, Dave Phillips has seen it all throughout his remarkable 32-year umpiring career. Few people, if any, have been involved in as many historic, controversial, and just plain peculiar incidents on a baseball diamond. Among the more notable games Phillips worked was the infamous Disco Demolition Night in Chicago in 1979. He emerged from the umpires' dressing room expecting to start the second game of a doubleheader, only to find that thousands of fans had coverged on the field and portions of the outfield were in flames due to a radio station-sponsored promotion gone bad. Phillips was also in uniform during 1994's "Batgate" (which also took place at Chicago's Comiskey Park), during which he confiscated Albert Belle's suspect bat and subsequently became the victim of one of baseball's most notorious crimes.

Phillips had legendary run-ins with the likes of Earl Weaver and Billy Martin, and he was the first umpire to catch famed spitballer Gaylord Perry in the act. In Center Field on Fire, Phillips recounts these and dozens of other amazing stories from his unique perspective. His tales are not only wildly entertaining and humorous, but also provide an insider's glimpse into some of baseball's most prominent and controversial personalities over the last half century. Phillips reveals telling anecdotes about Lou Piniella, Reggie Jackson, Sparky Anderson, Bud Selig, and many more of the game's heavy hitters, and he offers informed opinions about important issues in baseball today, such as labor relations and drug use. One of the most talented and respected professionals in the business during his long tenure, Phillips accurately portrays the life of an umpire. Following in his father's footsteps, he toiled in the minor leagues for several years before getting his shot in the majors. Once there, he learned how to live with the constant travel, stress, conflict, and never ending ire from fans, players, coaches, and managers.

Center Field on Fire provides a candid and humorous look inside the fascinating life of a true major leaguer

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
One of major league baseball's top umpires, Philips discusses his lengthy career, which included working several league championships and World Series. In conjunction with sportswriter Rains, Philips relates how he was drawn to umpiring for "one simple reason-money." He disputes notions that umpires are jaded, revealing instead that poor decisions made on the baseball diamond continue to torment the sport's on-field arbiters. Most interesting for many readers will be his take on his battles with various controversial figures, nearly going head-to-head with Billy Martin and ejecting Gaylord Perry for tossing illegal spitballs. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572435698
  • Publisher: Triumph Books
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 7.88 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword vii
Acknowledgments xi
Chapter 1 An Umpire's Life 1
Chapter 2 The Minors 13
Chapter 3 Crazy Nights 35
Chapter 4 Spitballs and Illegal Substances 59
Chapter 5 Pine Tar and Corked Bats 75
Chapter 6 Tantrums 91
Chapter 7 Brawls and Beanballs 115
Chapter 8 Steroids and Other Drugs 125
Chapter 9 Juiced Balls and Strikes 133
Chapter 10 Umpires' Nightmares 155
Chapter 11 Intimate Conversations 173
Chapter 12 Looking Ahead 195
Index 205
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 28, 2011

    Read if your a baseball fanatic

    This book is about the truth and life of how one man lived as an umpire. Dave Phillips is the umpire in this book and he explains his life as an ump. He shows how he likes to be a professional umpire, but sometimes it can be hell because it is a lot of traveling.The major message is that Dave and all the major league umpires and even his dad are having fun at their job, but it can be hell sometimes. The thing that i like about this book is that he will make a correct call no matter the team or player. He does that because it is his job. I don't like how a lot of umpires get a shot to ump for the professionals because players didn't give them a good umpire rating. If you're a baseball fan, you should defiantly read this book because it shows how umpires make their calls and it gives some respect from players and fans to umpires. I would give this a rating of 3.5 out of 5 because it has a lot of imagery in it, but this book is a little bit out dated for the players he talks about.

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