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Fred Brocklander

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Frederick William Brocklander III

[edit] Biographical Information

Fred Brocklander was a National League umpire from 1979 to 1990. A native of Baltimore, MD, his obituary claims that he played briefly in the Kansas City Athletics' minor league system in 1962, but this information is not verified. What is certain is that he began to officiate baseball, college basketball and soccer and eventually found a full-time job in organized baseball, being hired in 1970 and getting his first assignment in the Midwest League. He moved to the Carolina League in 1972 and then to the Eastern League the following year. In 1974, he began to work in the Pacific Coast League, where he stayed for five seasons.

Brocklander was one of the minor league umpires promoted to the majors during the 1979 umpires strike. While many of his colleagues had short and unhappy careers in the big leagues, Brocklander managed to stick around for over a decade. Like the other umpires hired as a result of the strike, he was ostracized by the unionized umpires, who would not speak to him. He was a good umpire however, and got a few prize assignments, such as working the 1984 All-Star Game and the 1986 National League Championship Series. He made a couple of highly controversial calls during that series: in Game 5, he called Craig Reynolds out at first base when replays clearly showed he had beaten the throw, giving the New York Mets a key double play that negated a run by the Houston Astros, who went on to lose the game in extra innings. In Game 6, when he was working home plate, Ray Knight appeared to have been caught looking at strike three during the Mets' three-run 9th-inning rally that forced extra innings, but Brocklander called the pitch a ball, extending the at-bat and allowing Knight to tie the game on a sacrifice fly. He also was the second base umpire in the game of September 11, 1985 at Riverfront Stadium in which Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb's all-time hit record.

He had to retire following the 1990 season because of health reasons, namely a string of knee operations in addition to kidney problems. He could hardly move on the field during his last season because of his problem knees, according to Bill White, who was the National League President at the time. He underwent the removal of a kidney shortly afterwards and worked as a high school soccer coach in later years. He died at age 69, following a stroke. His Danish-born wife Dorrit, whom he had married in 1979 while she was working in the airline business and he was a very frequent traveler because of his job, survived him by a few years, passing away in 2012. He had one daughter, Stefanie.

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