Tom Hallion

From BR Bullpen

Thomas Francis Hallion

Biographical Information[edit]

Tom Hallion had two stints as a major league umpire.

Hallion first became an umpire in the New York-Penn League in 1979, then moving to the Carolina League in 1980-1981, the Eastern League in 1982, and the American Association from 1983-1985. He also worked in the Dominican League in the winters of 1982 and 1983. He was then promoted to the National League staff and served there from 1985 until 1999. He worked the 1992 All-Star Game and 1998 NLCS.

Hallion was involved in an altercation with catcher Jeff Reed and pitching coach Milt May of the Colorado Rockies on June 26, 1999 in a game with the San Diego Padres, in which he bumped both Reed and May, in a dispute which started when Rockies' pitcher Mike DeJean began an argument with third base umpire Terry Tata over a checked swing call made earlier in the inning. On July 2nd, Hallion was suspended for three games for his role in the incident, a very rare punishment for a MLB umpire. In early September of that same year, Richie Phillips, counsel of the umpire's union, announced that 57 umpires had resigned as part of a bargaining strategy to raise umpire salaries. Hallion's suspension was one of the grievances raised to support this radical action. Phillips' idea was that the umpires were indispensable and that Major League Baseball would cave in, unable to go on with the schedule with most of its umpires unavailable. However, MLB called the bluff and accepted the resignations, then decided on a case-by-case basis which umpires to re-hire once they realized the strategy had failed and they came back asking for their jobs. 22 umpires, including Hallion, lost their jobs as a result.

Tom returned to umpire in the minor leagues and was reinstated as a major league umpire as part of a settlement concluded with MLB in December 2004. He returned to work as part of the consolidated major league umpiring staff in 2005. He worked the 2006 World Baseball Classic, including the Cuba-Japan finals, the 2008 All-Star Game and 2017 World Baseball Classic.

On May 2, 2013, MLB announced it was fining Hallion an undisclosed amount for a heated exchange with Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price on April 28th. Price, who was also fined, as were two teammates who commented on the fray after the game, accused Hallion of using an expletive, something which Hallion denied. On March 22, 2018, he again made headlines for dubious reasons when he ejected five players and coaches in a meaningless Grapefruit League game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Detroit Tigers; three pitchers were sent for throwing at batters - in Hallion's opinion - in addition to manager Gabe Kapler and coach Rob Thomson, the latter two for pointing out the absurdity of reacting as if there was a beanball war going on when it was obviously just a case of some pitches missing inside without any ill intention.

Hallion retired following the 2022 season, one of ten experienced umpires to do so at the time, after 29 years on the job.

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