Fenway Park Field

Sept. 19, 1968

Since Joe Cronin was President of the American League, the AL offices were located in Boston, where Cronin continued to live long after serving as player, manager and general manager of the Red Sox.

So when Cronin fired two AL umpires, Al Salerno and Bill Valentine, the ongoing dispute by the umps to be paid at the same rate as their National League colleagues set up shop in the Hub.

Salerno and Valentine were not fired because they were trying to organize an AL umpires union – at least that’s what Cronin tried to sell. He claimed they were fired for being “inefficient.”

But if Cronin counted on getting some help from the owner of the Boston American League Baseball Club, he was disappointed. Tom Yawkey was asked about the salary dispute and stood firmly on the side of the umpires.

It irked Yawkey that Cronin dismissed the umpires’ demand to be paid the same as NL umps by saying greater attendance in NL cities justified higher umpire salaries.

“I don’t think that has anything to do with it,” Yawkey said to a Boston Globe scribe, “… An umpire has nothing to do with drawing people. A good umpire is entitled to as much money in our league.”

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