2009-01-18 "I am blind"

(Original title: “An umpire takes abuse, all in fun”)

With an “I Am Blind” sign at his feet and a dunce cap on his head, here sits Northwestern League umpire August Moran in a wicker chair somewhere near the site of his many decisions and transgressions: Dugdale Park’s home plate. Augie is covered with flowers and the kind of vegetables one might toss at an umpire before being also thrown from the bleachers.

Included with the veggies was one diamond charm, courtesy of the 1912 Rooter’s Club for the Seattle Giants. Of all the umpires available for this happy “Umpire’s Day” abuse, Moran was chosen as the year’s victim. And the response was so lavish that Augie himself, who by the 1912 season had been making “instant decisions about the infinitesimal” for many years, some of them in the majors, pronounced it the “biggest of its kind ever pulled.”

Behind Moran is probably a row of head Rooters and perhaps batboys, and on the nearby horizon the original south facade of the now-century-old Washington Hall at 14th Avenue and Fir Street.

Originally the Danish Hall, it was built in 1908, one year after Daniel Dugdale opened this, his first namesake park in 1907 between Yesler Way and Fir Street and 12th and 13th avenues. The Giants were so popular that after only seven years here Dugdale moved them to a new stadium in the Rainier Valley, the first double-decker on the West Coast.

Speaker of this day was future Seattle Mayor Ole Hanson. Hanson noted in his remarks, “Mr. Moran, we realize the hardship and difficulties of your position . . . Every nearsighted, half-blind fan who has hard work to read his daily paper believes he sees better than the umpire.”

yesler-way-umpire-day
More than 7000 fans showed up a half-hour early to the Seattle-Portland game on Sunday Sept 22, 1912 to watch Northwest League umpire Augie Moran get some friendly abuse. The original comes by way of David Eskenazi, local baseball collector-historian, from the estate of Lester “Tug” Wilson, who Eskenazi tells us “patrolled the outfield for Dugdale’s Seattle Giants in the 1912 championship season.” Photo courtesy of David Eskenazi
Baseball scholar David Eskenazi holds his hands out as if in belated sympathy for umpire Augie Moran on the roof of the King County elections warehouse.  Photographer Jean Sherrard describes the big replacement for baseball as filled with boxes stuffed with ballots from past elections. Photo by Jean Sherrard
Baseball scholar David Eskenazi holds his hands out as if in belated sympathy for umpire Augie Moran on the roof of the King County elections warehouse. Photographer Jean Sherrard describes the big replacement for baseball as filled with boxes stuffed with ballots from past elections. Photo by Jean.

And from a different perspective:

Another of Dave looking south and a bit west. On the left can be seen the northern slope of Beacon Hill.
Another of Dave with a southern exposure. Over his shoulder, the northern slope of Beacon Hill and the Amazon HQ in silhouette.
Dugdale Park another POV
Dugdale Park

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