Working a "Perfect Game"

Not Rated Yet Author: Bill Nowlin Email
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Get to know the men behind the masks through interviews with nearly every major league umpire, by prolific baseball editor and author, Bill Nowlin. (6x9", 312pp, 37 photos)
Print: $19.99
ISBN 978-1-938545-60-3
e-book: 7.99
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Over the course of four years, prolific baseball writer and editor Bill Nowlin interviewed 72 major league umpires, another two dozen call-up and AAA umpires, and four umpire supervisors. The result is the most complete and intimate portrait ever done of a vitally important yet largely unappreciated aspect of professional baseball.

Nowlin’s deep knowledge of the game and of umpiring and his conversational interview style provide the perfect setting for the umpires to open up about themselves and their profession, and they do. From part-time call-ups to 30+ year veterans, the profiles that take shape transform the “men in blue” from anonymous background figures to fully formed characters—passionate, dedicated, driven, grateful.

Join all the big-name umpires and young up-and-comers as they describe the challenges, frustrations, and disappointments they have faced, while they speak to the excitement and honor of being at the pinnacle of their profession, all the while mixing in funny and poignant moments from their careers.

By the end of Working a “Perfect Game,” readers not only have a detailed picture of the day-to-day life of a major league umpire, but also an authentic understanding of the personalities and people hidden behind the mask of the game’s arbiters.

Bill Nowlin's book is divided into two parts: A collection of interviews, followed by a behind-the-scenes look at everything umpire, from school, to the minor leagues, to getting the call, to spring training, to favorite positions, to instant replay, and more. Read about

  • The long, hard road to reaching the majors, from umpire school, to the low minors, onward to Triple A until getting the call – 10 years or more of grueling travel, cheap hotels, and low pay
  • The passion that drives umpires – the pursuit of perfection and the love of baseball
  • The variety of ways the umps got started and who helped them keep their eyes on the prize
  • The never-ending logistics – airplanes, hotels, different cities, different ballparks
  • Life under a microscope, with every ball and strike and every safe and out evaluated electronically, with results tabulated and reported and game tapes published
  • Ejections – a necessary task, but one that is anything but relished, and why every umpire recalls the first time he gave someone the thumb
  • The thrill of post season baseball, from the joy of getting the call to the intense pressure of the ultimate baseball spotlight
  • The burden and privilege of being the ultimate upholders of the integrity of baseball, a responsibility that they take very seriously

Working a “Perfect Game” will give you deep insight into and understanding of the most important part of baseball no one knows about – umpiring. You’ll never watch a game the same way.


  • Phil Cuzzi – True Perseverance
  • Ed Hickox
  • How This Book Came To Be
  • Dr. Ted Barrett
  • Laz Diaz, Chris Guccione, Cory Blaser, and Clint Fagan – group conversation
  • Ted Barrett, Angel Hernandez, Chris Conroy, and Pat Hoberg – group conversation
  • Jim Joyce, Greg Gibson, Chad Fairchild, Carlos Torres – group conversation
  • Tim Timmons
  • Tim Welke
  • John Hirschbeck, Bill Welke, James Hoye, and John Tumpane – group conversation
  • Jeff Kellogg
  • Brian O’Nora
  • Mike Winters, Mike Muchlinksi, Mark Wegner, and Marty Foster – group conversation
  • Dale Scott, Dan Iassogna, C. B. Bucknor, and Lance Barrett – group conversation
  • Fieldin Culbreth, Jim Reynolds, and Paul Schrieber – group conversation


  • The Varied Backgrounds of Some of Today’s Big-League Umpires
  • Relatives in the Game
  • What Else Might Some Umpires Have Done If They Hadn’t Made it to the Majors?
  • On Umpire School
  • The Long and Difficult Road to the Majors
  • Getting “The Call”
  • “Nobody Notices You Until They Notice You”
  • Instant Replay
  • Favorite Games to Work / Favorite Positions
  • Spring Training
  • Ejections
  • Injuries
  • Evaluation and Selection for Postseason Play
  • Keeping a Clear Mind to Work That Perfect Game
  • After Umpiring


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