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George Moriarty

Third Baseman/Umpire
Born: July 7, 1885(1885-07-07)
Chicago, Illinois
Died: April 8, 1964 (aged 78)
Miami, Florida
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 27, 1903 for the Chicago Cubs
Last MLB appearance
May 4, 1916 for the Chicago White Sox
Career statistics
Batting average     .251
Home runs     5
Runs batted in     376
Stolen bases     248

As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

George Joseph Moriarty (June 7, 1884 – April 8, 1964) was an American third baseman, umpire and manager in Major League Baseball from 1903 to 1940. He played for the Chicago Cubs, New York Highlanders, Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox from 1903 to 1916.

Moriarty was born in Chicago, Illinois, where he grew up near the Union Stock Yards.[1] He made his major league debut on September 7, 1903 at the age of 19 with the Cubs. He was an average hitter but excelled at stealing bases, recording eight consecutive seasons of 20 or more steals and retiring with 248 career stolen bases, and is credited with having stolen home eleven times in his career [1]. His final game as a player was on May 4, 1916 with the White Sox.

Afterward, he became an American League umpire from 1917 to 1940, interrupted only by a 2-year stint as manager of the Tigers in 1927-28. He was one of the AL's most highly regarded umpires in his era, officiating in the World Series in 1921, 1925, 1930, 1933 and 1935, serving as crew chief in 1930 and 1935, as well as the All-Star game in 1934.

On Memorial Day in 1932, Moriarty worked behind the plate for a Cleveland Indians home game against the White Sox; when several Chicago players took exception to his calls, he challenged them to settle the dispute under the stands after the game. Pitcher Milt Gaston took on the challenge, whereupon Moriarty knocked him flat, breaking his hand. Several White Sox, including manager Lew Fonseca and catcher and future AL umpire Charlie Berry, then proceeded to take on the official. The next day, AL president Will Harridge issued numerous fines, as well as a 10-day suspension for Gaston.[1]

It is reported that once while Moriarty was umpiring, Babe Ruth, who was at bat, stepped out of the batter's box and asked Moriarty to spell his last name. When he had spelled it out, Ruth reportedly replied, "Just as I thought; only one I." The baseball card shown to the right of this text spells Moriarty's name incorrectly - with "two I's."

Moriarty also was noted for his influence on the life of Tigers first baseman Hank Greenberg. During the 1935 World Series, Moriarty warned several Chicago Cubs players to stop yelling anti-semitic slurs at Greenberg [2]. When the Cubs players persisted with their remarks, Moriarty took the unusual step of clearing the entire Chicago bench - a maneuver that got him fined by then-commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis [3]. Later, when Greenberg was pursuing Babe Ruth's single-season home run record, Moriarty kept the final game of the 1938 season going until darkness made it impossible to continue. Greenberg finished the night two homers shy of Ruth's record [4].

In his biography, Hank Greenberg recalled:

Much later in my career George Moriarty and I became very good friends. Back in the early 1900s he played third base for Detroit, and he used to steal home. Somebody wrote a poem about him, and the title was “Never Die on Third Moriarty.” All through the rest of his life George felt he knew something about stealing home. When he was umpiring on third base, and on occasion when I'd get on third, he coached me on how to take a lead so I could steal home. I never had the guts enough to try, because I didn’t think I could make it. I'd run down the line, and he'd keep insisting that I take a bigger lead. I was always afraid that I was going to get picked off. But it was interesting to see Moriarty, who was umpiring at third base, coaching me on how to steal home for the Tigers. It became a joke among the players, but I never got up the nerve to try it. [5]

Despite his combative field persona, off the field Moriarty could be more congenial, maintaining close friendships with Jesuit priests at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. Moriarty also fancied himself a lyricist, and collaborated with Richard A. Whiting on the tune "Love Me Like the Ivy Loves the Old Oak Tree." [6]

On the other hand, in 1944 divorce proceedings his wife stated that "His attitude toward the next-door neighbors was of intense hatred for no reason whatever. One time he heard the neighbor's radio. He was so angry he carried our radio to the open window next to the neighbor and turned it on full blast for about three hours."

Moriarty joined the AL public relations staff after retiring from field duties, and later became a scout for the Tigers, helping to discover such players as Harvey Kuenn and Billy Hoeft before retiring in December 1958.

George Moriarty died at the age of 79 in Miami, Florida.[1] He is also remembered today for being the grandfather of actor and former Law & Order star Michael Moriarty, who also played pitcher Henry Wiggen in the 1973 baseball movie Bang the Drum Slowly.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Fleischman, Bill (1964-04-25). "Battling Moriarty -- Ump Who Loved to Fight". The Sporting News: p. 44.  

External links

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