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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Better Know An Umpire: Jerry Layne

Illustration for article titled Better Know An Umpire: Jerry Layne

Welcome to Better Know An Umpire, an effort to educate ourselves on the human elements who have ultimate decision-making power over some 2,500 Major League Baseball games a year. (All cumulative stats are through the 2011 season, unless otherwise stated.)


Name: Jerry Layne

Uniform number: 24 (crew chief)

Age: 53

Height/weight: 6-foot-4, 255 pounds

First year as MLB umpire: 1989

Total MLB games worked through 2011: 2,758 (home plate: 690)

Previous experience: Appalachian League, Florida State League, Southern League, Pacific Coast League


Career ejections: 74

No-hitters called: One

Over/under record (1999-2011): 145-151

Hated in: Anaheim, northeast Texas

Notable alleged blown calls: Angels-Yankees, October 17, 2009 (Game 2, ALCS); Rangers-Cardinals, October 28, 2011 (Game 7, World Series).

Claim to fame: Called Fernando Valenzuela's no-hitter on June 29, 1990. Was behind the plate for Barry Bonds' 71st home run on October 5, 2001.


Scouting report from Major League Umpires' Performance, 2007-2010, by Andy Goldblatt:

Jerry Layne is a puzzle. ... [In 2007, 2008, and 2010], his K/9 was below average. But in spite of that postage stamp strike zone, his R/9 was lower than then norm in all seasons. ... Layne's career ejection rate is 2.7 percent, some 20 percent higher than average.


Scouting report from a random blog commenter:

I'm not backing down on this. I'll give St. Louis their Game 6, but Jerry Layne fucked us over in Game 7, and there SHOULD be no place for that in baseball.


Average K/9 (2011): 13.8

Average BB/9 (2011): 6.4

Sample PITCHf/x strike zone: October 28, 2011 (Game 7, World Series). Rangers fans believe Layne's strike zone cost them a World Series title. (Called strikes to Texas batters are shown as red squares. Called balls to St. Louis batters are shown as green triangles.)

Illustration for article titled Better Know An Umpire: Jerry Layne

True fact: Was knocked out of a game in 2006 when the barrel of Hanley Ramirez's shattered bat struck Layne in the head.


On umpiring: "I don't know what goes through people's minds. ... It's basically a game, and it's at high levels, and there's a lot of professionals on the field. Everybody tries to do their best."

Strike 3 call:


To check out other installments of Better Know An Umpire, click here.

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