Tuesday, April 6, 2010
BOOK: Pam Postema
Man, where do you start with this book? I guess the obvious must be addressed. Pam Postema is a former professional baseball umpire. She made it to triple A, which was groundbreaking for a female. She even did some exhibition umping in the majors, though she never quit made it to umpiring in a major league game.
Oddly, not many other females have gotten nearly as close as Pam, which makes this book from 1992 still very interesting.
Pam kind of shifts around low pay and low reward jobs, working for Howard Johnson, Taco Bell, a candy factory and others. One day, her mom calls her after reading an article about female umpire Christine Wren and suggests to Pam that she try this.
She dismisses the idea at first, then, after some thought, becomes intrigued by the idea. After some calls and chats with the umpire school, she convinces them that she does not need any special consideration. They have no other female students, but she assures them they will not need to change their program in any way.
Pam struggles through umpire school, works, and stays in a really bad apartment with a bunch of rats (literally). She offers to ump some college games in Florida for free, She pretty much feels like her career is over when she gets an invite from the GCL to ump.
Pam works her way up the system. She has to deal with politics, fellow umps trying to overrule her calls at times, and other issues.
One of my favorite stories is when Pam is confronted by her bosses about a job as a change girl at a casino. Obviously, ANY link to gambling in baseball is frowned upon, so she is asked to quit her off season job, or quit baseball.
Of course there are some fun stories of conflicts with players, players trying to kiss up by flirting, etc. Pam gives a great story about how the clubbies at one park lost her bra while doing laundry, forcing her to call a game without one- a situation that could only happen to Pam!
Sports Illustrated, Pam notes, bashed MLB for taking its time with advancing Pam. After that, she is asked to ump the Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown!
Obviously, after spending 13 years in the minors, Pam's career comes to an end. She pretty much admits this in the intro to the book (I guess she gives away the ending of her book within the 1st few pages) but she says she had a good time. As of the books publication, she was driving a Fed Ex truck.
This is a great book, with lots of good stories about many big names in baseball and the politics of the sport. It is also about one of the more significant females to break in to pro baseball. It is a great book right now but I think as time goes by, its importance will be more thoroughly realized- as will Pam's.