Called Out but Safe

Called Out but Safe

A Baseball Umpire's Journey

Al Clark with Dan Schlossberg
Foreword by Marty Appel

236 pages
16 photographs, 1 illustration, 1 appendix


April 2018


$18.95 Add to Cart

May 2014


$26.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

If an umpire could steal the show in a Major League game, Al Clark might well have been the one to do it. Tough but fair, in his thirty years as a professional umpire he took on some of baseball’s great umpire baiters, such as Earl Weaver, Billy Martin, and Dick Williams, while ejecting any number of the game’s elite—once tearing a hamstring in the process. He was the first Jewish umpire in American League history, and probably the first to eject his own father from the officials’ dressing room. But whatever Clark was doing—officiating at Nolan Ryan’s three hundredth win, Cal Ripken’s record breaker, or the “earthquake” World Series of 1989, or braving a labor dispute, an anti-Semitic tirade by a Cy Young Award winner, or a legal imbroglio—it makes for a good story.
Called Out but Safe is Clark’s outspoken and often hilarious account of his life in baseball from umpire school through the highlights to the inglorious end of his stellar career. Not just a source of baseball history and lore, Clark’s book also affords a rare look at what life is like for someone who works for the Major Leagues’ other team. 

Author Bio

Al Clark was a professional umpire for thirty years, working more than three thousand games, including two All-Star Games, seven playoff series, and two World Series. Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg is the author or coauthor of more than thirty baseball books, including Designated Hebrew: The Ron Blomberg Story and Making Airwaves: 60 Years at Milo’s Microphone.


“Clark, having called well over 3,000 MLB games, offers a perspective that is engaging as well as steeped in personal experience. It will be of interest to any baseball fan.”—Brian Renvall, Library Journal

“Enjoy some great baseball stories from a man who once had a front-row seat in our great game.”—Chris Wheeler, Phillies broadcaster

“Al Clark never threw me out of a game, but Billy Martin wasn’t so fortunate. I not only witnessed his confrontations with Al but enjoyed remembering them in this book.”—Ron Blomberg, first designated hitter

“Everything about Called Out But Safe is personal, and thank goodness for it.”—Don Laible, Utica Observer-Dispatch

“Books from umpires are infrequent and refreshing. . . . It is baseball’s timeless field of vision that offers the vantage where Clark made a living for more than twenty-five years. From a reader’s perspective it’s a point of view worth sharing.”—The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

Table of Contents

1. The Family Clark
2. Getting Started
3. The Art of Umpiring
4. Dressing the Part
5. My Office
6. Names and Games
7. Wives, Women, and Song
8. The Yiddishe Umpire
9. Billy, Earl, and a Few Dicks
10. Bucky F. Dent
11. Labor Pains
12. Quaking in My Boots
13. A Texas Connection
14. Lights Out in Baltimore
15. The Iron Man
16. Credit Denied
17. Jailhouse Rock
18. Lasting Impressions

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