- Froemming the best umpire in the National League
- Inside and Outside the Chalk Lines
Bruce Neal Froemming, baseball umpire: The longest-tenured umpire in major league history.
Bruce has bountiful anecdotes collected over 53 summers, as few can spin a yarn like ex-ump Froemming.
“The best way I can say it, this is a game of personalities and it’s a game of selling. You make the call and you have to sell it.”
Froemming’s personality is notable: proud, brusque and sensitive – crusty with a soft center and over the years, he has earned affection.
A member of the Major League staff, has worked the All-Star Game (1975, 86),
Division Series (1981, 95, 96, 98, 99, 2001-03),
League Championship Series (1973, 77, 80, 82, 85, 89, 91, 93, 97, 2000)
World Series (1976, 84, 88, 90, 95).
Bruce will have the longest period of consecutive years of service for an active umpire in baseball history…worked his 5,000th Major League game at Fenway Park, (5,374) as the only other umpire to top 5,000 Major League games…first game as a Major League umpire was snowed out at Shea Stadium in New York…previously umpired in the Nebraska State League, Midwest League, Northern League, North west League, Texas League and the PCL.
Froemming received a standing ovation before umpiring his last regular-season game, manning the third base position as the Milwaukee Brewers hosted the San Diego Padres at Miller Park in his native Milwaukee. Major League Umpire retires after 50 year career.
Froemming, at 52, had an angioplasty to remove blockages from two or more blood vessels to the heart.
“Working with Bruce automatically gives you credibility”
“His reputation has been built through years of consistency. He didn’t get that reputation overnight.”
Froemming played second base at Custer High School in Milwaukee but first umpired when he didn’t make the team in ninth grade.
“I saw an ad in the paper for $3.50 a game to umpire games for 11- to 13-year-olds,” Froemming says. “I was 14. I did four games a day, four days a week. That was $56, almost as much as I got when I started in the Midwest League” in 1958.
Froemming made $400 a month in his first year in the minors and the year before he and high school sweetheart were wed.
In Milwaukee during winters, he drove trucks, delivering everything from coal to furniture to dry cleaning. He worked at a frozen custard stand, even picked up dead bodies for a funeral home.
When Froemming first stepped on a major league diamond, more than 5,000 games ago, Richard Nixon was president, Barry Bonds’s father, Bobby, was in his prime, and there was no such thing as a designated hitter.