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Hall of Fame Military Spotlight Series: Al Barlick

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

The Foundation recognizes Al Barlick for his service in the United States Coast Guard during World War II. He is celebrated this week on the Coast Guard’s 233rd birthday on August 4th.

Barlick was introduced to umpiring while he was working with his father in the coal mines and began umpiring a few sandlot games during a strike to earn extra money. His professional umpiring career began in 1936 in the Northeast Arkansas League.

He started his career in the minor leagues, umpiring in the Piedmont and the Eastern League, before moving to the International League in 1939. Al then made his major league debut in 1940, becoming one of the youngest MLB umpires in history and became well known for his energetic voice and exaggerated hand gestures when calling strikes.

On November 5, 1943, he entered the Coast Guard and served as a Seaman First Class aboard an 83-foot cutter in the Atlantic and was stationed at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. He was discharged in 1945.


After his discharge, he returned to baseball in 1946 and put his superb knowledge of baseball back to use until his retirement in 1972, after 33 years. During that time, he accumulated many accolades by umpiring in seven All-Star games and seven World Series. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 and served as a National League consultant from 1972 to 1994. His uniform, Number 3, was retired at Wrigley Field in 1995.

The Foundation recognizes him for not only his enthusiasm and love for the game, but also for his hustle, stern demeanor, and strict but fair interpretation of the baseball rules.

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