The burly backup catcher, known as a handy man in a brawl, became the 20th player
to hit a home run in his first ML at-bat (June 18, 1961). At Wabash College, he starred
with the shotput and discus.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»May 13, 1940: In a replay of their washed-out game of April 23rd called on account of darkness, the Reds and the Cards neglect to inform the league office, and no umpires are assigned to Crosley Field. Coach Jimmy Wilson and P Lon Warneke are pressed into service as umpires before umpire Larry Goetz, at home in Cincinnati on a day off, arrives to officiate. Warneke will later become a full-time umpire, while Wilson will return to active duty at the end of the year and star in the World Series. Johnny Mize of the St. Louis Cardinals hits three home runs, and the Reds Bill Werber has five hits and collects four doubles in a 14-inning, 8–8 tie with the Reds. Mize's is his 3rd 3-homer game, breaking the tie for the National League record he shared with George Kelly. After 1910, there will be only five games this century in which active players umpire: Besides today these are: 1912: Ham Hyatt (Pit-N) and Ed Phelps (Bro-N); 1935: Jocko Conlan (Chi-A); 1941: Johnny Cooney (Bos-N) and Freddie Fitzsimmons (Bro-N); and 1978: Don Leppert (coach, Tor-A) and Jerry Zimmerman (coach, Min-A). (as noted by historian Wayne McElreavy)
»June 18, 1961: Pittsburgh takes the first game 5–3 as Don Leppert makes his ML debut with a home run in his first at bat, off Curt Simmons. The Cards salvage a split with a 7–3 nightcap win.
»August 25, 1978:
At Toronto, the Blue Jays beat the Minnesota Twin, 7–3, with two amateur umpires and two coaches officiating: Toronto coach Don Leppert and Twins coach Jerry Zimmerman umpire. As noted by historian Wayne McElreavy, since 1910 this is just the 5th time this century, and the first time since 1941, that active players or coaches have umpired.