Baseball notables arrive for clinic
Stars and Stripes February 8, 1952
RHINE-MAIN — Despite wintry winds and flurries of snow, a breath of spring blew into the EC yesterday when two National League umpires, one of baseball's all-time great pitchers, the director of promotion for the major leagues and two collegiate coaches stepped off a MATS C54 plane at Rhine-Main Air Base.
For Art Gore, veteran of five years as a senior circuit arbiter, it is a return trip to the EC and he's "tickled to death to be back." With him were his blue serge colleague, Jocko Conlan, who has been calling big-time balls and strikes for 12 years; Jack Coombs, who never lost a World Series game in five decisions; Lew Fonseca, former American League batting champion who now heads the majors' publicity bureau; Otto Vogel, Iowa University baseball coach; and Marty Karow, who tutors the Ohio State nine.
The sextet is here for the annual EUCOM baseball clinic, which opens in Garmisch Monday and will run through Feb. 15.
Coombs, who has capped his major league career with 24 years as head coach at Duke University, will tell EC mentors what to teach their pitchers.
His word will be close to final on the subject, for the former Philadelphia Athletics star stopped Frank Chance's Chicago Cubs three times in the 1910 Series, bested the Giants' Christy Mathewson in 1911 and, after switching to Brooklyn, gave the Dodgers their only victory in the 1916 Series with the Red Sox.
Fonseca can speak with equal authority when it comes to hitting for his .369 average as a Cleveland first baseman was high for the American League in 1929. For the past 18 years he has headed the major league's promotion bureau, which makes an instructional film and the official World Series movie each year.
"I've got the '51 Series with me and a new film, 'The Democracy of Baseball', which tells the history of the game," Fonseca announced, obviously looking forward to his first visit overseas.
Prospective EC umpires are certain to learn how and when to eject unruly competitors from Conlan and Gore, both experts in that field. The latter sent Giants manager Leo Durocher to early showers three times during last year's pennant race and chased Brooklyn's Charlie Dressen four times.
As for Conlan, he boasts "the record for throwing Frankie Frisch (former Cardinals Pirates and Cubs manager) out of games."
They'll also learn what every fan has suspected from the time he bought his first hot dog in the bleachers — umpires aren't infallible. Gore himself admits that, but he also advises against "evening up" bad decisions.
"When you start doing that, you're making two mistakes instead of one," he explains, "and you won't stay around very long."
Coombs will be ably supported by Vogel and Karow when he coaches the coaches in coaching techniques. The former, once an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs, has been at Iowa U. for 25 years, while the latter returned to his alma mater at Columbus, Ohio, after tutoring teams at Texas A. & M., Texas and Navy.