Profiles of Valor
Al Barlick was one of the most respected Major League Umpires of all time. He was born in Springfield, Illinois on May 2, 1915. While growing up during the Great Depression, Barlick dropped out of high school to support his family by joining the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1935, the Springfield Municipal Baseball League, depleted of umpires, hired 20-year-old Barlick who worked for many local and regional leagues for the next five years before an opportunity in the majors opened. He made his major league debut in a doubleheader at Shibe Park on September 8, 1940.
Barlick was offered a contract for the 1941 season, and at the age of twenty-six, became one of the youngest MLB umpires in history. Barlick signed a contract with the National League in 1942 and called his first All-Star game during his second full season.
On November 5, 1943, Barlick entered service with the Coast Guard. He served aboard a Coast Guard cutter in the Atlantic and was discharged in 1945 as a Lieutenant Commander. He returned to umpiring in 1946.
With a booming voice, decisive hand signals, and an excellent knowledge of the rules, Barlick called his first World Series in 1946. He served the National League for the next four decades and appeared in 4,227 games, the fourth most by an umpire at the time of his retirement. He umpired seven All-Star games and seven World Series. He was known for his strict, yet fair interpretation of the rules and played a leadership role for the umpires’ union and their fight for better pay. Barlick was recognized for his success in 1971 when he received the Umpire of the Year Award. He retired in 1972 after thirty-three years and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989. He served as a National League consultant from 1972 to 1994. In May 1995, his uniform, No 3, was retired at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Al Barlick passed away at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Illinois on December 27, 1995. He was 80.