Billy Evans

William George Evans (February 10, 1884 – January 23, 1956), nicknamed "The Boy Umpire", was an American umpire in Major League Baseball who worked in the American League from 1906 to 1927. He became, at age 22, the youngest umpire in major league history, and later became the youngest to officiate in the World Series at age 25.[1]

Upon his retirement at age 43, his 3,319 career games ranked fifth in major league history; his 1,757 games as a home plate umpire ranked third in AL history, and remain the eighth most by a major league umpire. He later became a key front office executive for three teams and president of the minor league Southern Association.[1]

In addition to his inside role in the sport, Evans authored countless articles,[2] as well as two books, Umpiring from the Inside (1947) and Knotty Problems in Baseball (1950).[1] He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, the third umpire ever selected.[3]

Billy Evans
Billy Evans 1914
Evans in 1914
BornFebruary 10, 1884
DiedJanuary 23, 1956 (aged 71)
Spouse(s)Hazel Baldwin
Children1 son

Baseball career
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Election MethodVeterans Committee

Formative years

Evans was born in Chicago.[2] When he was still a child, he relocated with his family to Youngstown, Ohio, where his Welsh-born father became superintendent at a Carnegie steel plant.[4] In Youngstown, the Evans family joined Westminster Presbyterian Church, where Billy Evans attended Sunday school.[5] As a youth, Evans was active in YMCA programs and participated in a neighborhood baseball club called the Youngstown Spiders, a team named in honor of the regionally popular Cleveland Spiders.[5] He gained notability as an athlete at Youngstown's Rayen School, excelling at baseball, football, and track.[1] In 1902, Evans enrolled at Cornell University, where he played on a freshman team managed by veteran major league shortstop Hughie Jennings.[5] After two years, his law studies and collegiate sports career came to an end, with the sudden death of his father.[6] Evans returned to Ohio and accepted a job as a sports reporter at the Youngstown Daily Vindicator.[3] The paper's city editor, Sam Wright, hired Evans on the basis of writing experience he secured as a staff member of his high school yearbook and college newspaper.[1] At the same time, Wright understood that Evans' varied experiences as an athlete provided him with an in-depth knowledge of sports.[1]

In the early 1900s, while covering a baseball game between the Youngstown Ohio Works club and a team from Homestead, Pennsylvania, Evans was approached by the manager of the local club, ex-major leaguer Marty Hogan, and asked to fill an umpire vacancy.[6] According to Evans's obituary, the aspiring reporter, who was on a date with a young woman, "wasn't interested until Hogan mentioned he would be paid $15 a week for officiating the game", a figure equivalent to a week's salary at his sportswriting job.[1]

Evans' ability caught the attention of Charlie Morton, president of the Ohio–Pennsylvania League, and he was offered a full-time position as a league umpire.[1] Evans accepted the job, on the condition that he could retain his position as a sportswriter.[1] In 1906, he received a spectacular career boost from fellow Youngstowner Jimmy McAleer, an ex-major leaguer who was so impressed with the young man's ability that he recommended Evans to American League president Ban Johnson.[6] This gesture enabled Evans to move from a Class C Division minor league club to the major leagues.[1]

Major league umpiring career

At 22 years of age, Evans was the youngest umpire in major league history; furthermore, he was among those very rare umpires who broke into the major leagues with little previous professional experience.[3] He was regarded as the only umpire of his era who never had played professional baseball himself.[2] After making his debut at Highlanders' Park in New York City,[1] he went on to umpire for six World Series: 1909, 1912, 1915, 1917, 1919 and 1923. Working in an era during which most major league games used no more than two umpires (and sometimes only one), Evans single-handedly umpired seven double-headers in eight days during the 1907 season. He was the base umpire for Charlie Robertson's perfect game on April 30, 1922.[7]

Unlike many umpires, Evans never made claims to infallibility. "I missed a lot of decisions", he once said. "At the time of making such a decision there was no doubt in my mind as to its correctness. However, a second or two later I felt that I erred and wished I could change my original ruling".[1] Evans' humility and impartiality did not always protect him from abusive fans. As sports writers Daniel Okrent and Steve Wulf observed, "roughness on the field seemed to elicit the same in the stands".[8] On September 15, 1907, in the midst of a doubleheader between the St. Louis Browns and Detroit Tigers, Evans suffered a skull fracture when a bottle hurled by an angry spectator knocked him unconscious.[9] The New York Times described the incident as "one of the most disgraceful scenes ever witnessed on a ball field".[9]

Evans became known as an innovator during more than two decades with the American League. One obituary observed that he "introduced something new to officiating by running down to a base where a play was made so that he would be on top of it".[1] This approach became a standard practice among major league officials.[1] He was also aware of the increasing demands placed on umpires and strongly advocated formal training for baseball officials.[4] Furthermore, in a game that retained much of the rough-and-tumble atmosphere of earlier decades, Evans "substituted diplomacy for belligerency and proved an arbiter could control a game without threats of physical violence".[1]

Ty Cobb

At the same time, he was unwilling to "back down" when physically threatened. In September 1921, Evans was involved in a bloody fistfight with Ty Cobb, who contested one of Evans' calls.[4] Baseball historian David Anderson noted that the trouble began when Cobb threatened to "whip" Evans "right at home plate", a move that would have led to Cobb's immediate suspension.[4] Evans supposedly invited Cobb to the umpire's dressing room for "post-game festivities", and before long, the two men were brawling beneath the stands as players from both teams looked on.[4] According to some accounts, many of Cobb's Detroit Tigers teammates "rooted" for Evans.[4] After the fight, Cobb was suspended for one game, while Evans attended the next several games wearing bandages.[4] Both men had agreed before the fight that they would not report it to league officials, but word of the incident eventually reached the league president, Ban Johnson.[10] According to sports writers Okrent and Wulf, Johnson responded to news of the incident "with uncharacteristic humor", saying "only that he was sorry that he missed it".[10]

For the duration of his career as an umpire, Evans also remained active as a sportswriter. From 1918 to 1928, he served as sports editor of Newspaper Enterprise Association and produced a syndicated sports column titled, "Billy Evans Says".[1][11] His staff featured well-known sportswriters Jimmy Powers and Joe Williams.[1]

Executive career

Evans retired from umpiring following the 1927 season to become the general manager of the Cleveland Indians, earning a substantial annual salary of $30,000.[1] Baseball historian Bill James observed that Evans was the first front-office executive of a major league team to be officially called a "general manager".[12] In this capacity, Evans was credited with taking the Indians from a second division to a first division team.[1] He served as general manager for the next eight years, until budget cuts forced him out in 1935.[1] Rumors circulated that Evans's decision to leave the Indians was also motivated by a disagreement with the Indians' manager, Walter Johnson, over the suspension of third baseman Willie Kamm and the release of catcher Glenn Myatt.[1] Johnson allegedly accused Evans of "disloyalty", while Evans reportedly replied that he refused to be a "yes man".[1] Evans soon found work as chief scout and head of the Boston Red Sox farm system, but left on October 8, 1940 after the team sold Pee Wee Reese to the Brooklyn Dodgers over his objections.[3]

Shifting sports, Evans returned to Cleveland to become general manager of the Cleveland Rams for the 1941 season. Although the team struggled on the field, it was a financial success, but after failing to come to terms on a new contract, Evans left and spent the next year writing before accepting the position of league president of the Southern Association on December 3, 1942.[3]

During his four years leading the league, the Association thrived despite many other leagues shutting down due to World War II. In his first year, attendance increased by nearly 300,000, and while it dipped slightly in 1944, the threshold of one million people attending league games was again reached the following year.[13]

On December 16, 1946, Evans accepted a contract offer from the Detroit Tigers to become their general manager.[3] One of his first moves was dramatic – selling aging superstar Hank Greenberg to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Over the next four years, the team had two runnerup finishes to the New York Yankees, but after dropping in the standings during the 1951 season, Evans announced his resignation on July 28 in favor of Tiger legend Charlie Gehringer.[3]

Private life

Despite long absences from his residence in Cleveland, Evans was known as a devoted husband and father.[4] He married the former Hazel Baldwin in 1908; the couple had one child, Robert, who became the sports director of a radio station in Miami, Florida.[1] Evans maintained close ties with family members and died while visiting his son in Miami.[1]

Despite his success, Evans remained accessible to friends from his early days in Youngstown. Shortly after Evans' death, a former high school classmate, E. Allan Lightner, recalled that his late friend "was still the fine clean character that he was in his high school days in Youngstown".[5] Lightner recalled that, shortly after his final conversation with the retired umpire, Evans sent Lightner an autographed photo of himself with former Detroit Tigers manager Red Rolfe.[5]

Final years

By 1952, Evans had unofficially retired, then was injured in an automobile accident in Monroe, Michigan. After recovering, he remained in good health until January 21, 1956, when he suffered a massive stroke while visiting his son.[1] Evans died two days later at the age of 71.[2] Funeral services were held in Cleveland.[1] Evans' remains were interred at Knollwood Cemetery in Mayfield Heights, Ohio.[4]


Evans' contributions to baseball have been widely recognized. In 1973, he became the third umpire elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.[3] Evans is honored for the high standard of professionalism he set during his career as an official, and he is credited as a tireless advocate of formal training for umpires.[4] Ironically, as David Anderson observed, Evans might have been denied the opportunity to serve as an official in the major leagues "if the present day umpire school system existed during the Dead Ball Era".[4] Anderson noted that Evans' description of the basic qualities required of an effective umpire holds up even today: "Good eyes, plenty of courage – mental and physical – a thorough knowledge of the playing rules, more than average portions of fair play, common sense and diplomacy, an entire lack of vindictiveness, plenty of confidence in your ability".[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "Billy Evans, Renowned Baseball Figure, Dies". The Youngstown Vindicator. January 24, 1956.
  2. ^ a b c d "Billy Evans Dies in Miami at 71; Major League Umpire 22 Years". The New York Times. Associated Press. January 24, 1956.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Billy Evans Obituary". Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Anderson, David. "Billy Evans". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
  5. ^ a b c d e Lightner, E. Allan (February 26, 1956). "Recalls When Billy Evans Played Sandlot Ball Here". The Youngstown Vindicator.
  6. ^ a b c Baker, Jon (July 1, 2005). "In Valley's History, Evans Was an Early Scrapper". The Valley Voice.
  7. ^ "Charlie Robertson Perfect Game Box Score". Retrieved 2007-12-25.
  8. ^ Okrent and Wulf (1989), pp. 52–53.
  9. ^ a b "Umpire's Skull Fractured – Spectator at Detroit-St. Louis Game Throws a Bottle". The New York Times. September 16, 1907.
  10. ^ a b Okrent and Wulf (1989), p. 53.
  11. ^ "Billy Evans". Archived from the original on 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2007-12-22.
  12. ^ James (2003), p. 128.
  13. ^ Spink, J. G. Taylor (ed.) (1946). "Attendance Figures for 1945". Baseball Guide and Record Book 1946. St. Louis: The Sporting News. p. 189.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)


  • James, Bill (2003). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York: Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-2722-0.
  • Okrent, Daniel; Wulf, Steve (1989). Baseball Anecdotes. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504396-0.

Further reading

External links

1921 Yale Bulldogs football team

The 1921 Yale Bulldogs football team represented Yale University in the 1921 college football season. The Bulldogs finished with an 8–1 record under fourth-year head coach Tad Jones. Yale outscored its opponents by a combined score of 202 to 31. Its sole loss came in the final game of the season, a 10–3 loss against Harvard at Cambridge, Massachusetts. Yale halfback Malcolm Aldrich was a consensus selection for the 1921 College Football All-America Team, receiving first-team honors from Walter Camp, Billy Evans, Walter Eckersall, Jack Veiock, Malcolm McLean, and Norman E. Brown.

1922 College Football All-America Team

The 1922 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1922. The only selector recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1922 season is Walter Camp, whose selections were published in Collier's Weekly. Additional selectors who chose All-American teams in 1922 included: Athletic World magazine, selected by 214 coaches; Norman E. Brown, sports editor of the Central Press Association; the New York Tribune, selected by Ray McCarthy with advice from Grantland Rice and William B. Hanna; Walter Eckersall, of the Chicago Tribune; Frank G. Menke; and Billy Evans, who polled 200 sports editors.

Iowa quarterback Gordon Locke was the only player chosen as a first-team All-American by all 10 selectors referenced herein. Locke led the undefeated 1922 Iowa Hawkeyes to a 6–0 win over Yale, which had never before lost to a team from the "West". After returning by train from Yale, Locke scored Iowa's only touchdown in an 8–7 win over Illinois.

Cornell back Eddie Kaw was chosen as a first-team All-American by 9 of the 10 selectors, and he also had more votes (122) than any other player in the All-America survey conducted by the Romelke Press Clipping Bureau, based on votes of "nearly every important pressman who has picked an All-American team."

1923 Wisconsin Badgers football team

The 1923 Wisconsin Badgers football team was an American football team that represented the University of Wisconsin in the 1923 Big Ten Conference football season. The team compiled a 3–3–1 record (1–3–1 against conference opponents), finished in seventh place in the Big Ten Conference, and outscored its opponents by a combined total of 89 to 32. Jack Ryan was in his first year as Wisconsin's head coach.Marty Below was the team captain. Below was also a consensus first-team player on the 1923 College Football All-America Team. Guard Adolph Bieberstein and fullback Merrill Taft were selected by Billy Evans for his "National Honor Roll" of the best players in the country.The team played its home games at Camp Randall Stadium, which had a seating capacity of 14,000. During the 1923 season, the average attendance at home games was 16,387.

1924 Army Cadets football team

The 1924 Army Cadets football team represented the United States Military Academy in the 1924 college football season. In their second season under head coach John McEwan, the Cadets compiled a 5–1–2 record, shut out four of their eight opponents, and outscored all opponents by a combined total of 111 to 41.In the annual Army–Navy Game, the Cadets defeated the Midshipmen 12–0; the team's only loss came to undefeated national champion Notre Dame, by a 13 to 7 score.Five Army players were recognized on the All-America team. Center Edgar Garbisch was selected as a first-team player by Walter Camp, Football World magazine, and All-Sports Magazine. Garbisch was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Guard August Farwick received first-team honors from the All-America Board, the Newspaper Enterprise Association, Billy Evans, and Walter Eckersall. End Frank Frazer was selected as a third-team player by Walter Camp. Harry Ellinger received third-team honors from Davis J. Walsh. Halfback Harry Wilson was selected as a third-team player by All-Sports Magazine.

1924 Princeton Tigers football team

The 1924 Princeton Tigers football team represented Princeton University in the 1924 college football season. The team finished with a 4–2–1 record under 11th-year head coach Bill Roper. No Princeton players were consensus honorees on the 1924 College Football All-America Team, but two players received first-team honors from at least one selector. They are: end Edmond Stout (Football World and All-Sports Magazine magazines), and tackle Bob Beattie (NEA, Billy Evans and Walter Eckersall),

1924 Yale Bulldogs football team

The 1924 Yale Bulldogs football team represented Yale University in the 1924 college football season. The Bulldogs opened the season with victories over North Carolina and Georgia and concluded the season with victories over rivals Princeton and Yale. The team finished with an undefeated 6–0–2 record under seventh-year head coach Tad Jones. The two ties were against Dartmouth and Army.Yale end Dick Luman was named a consensus selection for the 1924 College Football All-America Team, having been so honored by the All-America Board and the International News Service. Other Yale players receiving first-team All-American honors in 1924 were center Winslow Lovejoy (All-America Board, Football World, All-Sports Magazine, and Norman E. Brown), halfback Ducky Pond (Newspaper Editors Association and Billy Evans), and tackle Johnny Joss (Lawrence Perry).

1925 All-Big Ten Conference football team

The 1925 All-Big Ten Conference football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Big Ten Conference teams chosen by various selectors for the 1925 Big Ten Conference football season.

1925 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1925 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team was an American football team that represented the University of Notre Dame as an independent during the 1925 college football season. In its eighth season under head coach Knute Rockne, the team compiled a 7–2–1 record and outscored opponents by a total of 200 to 64.Three Notre Dame players were recognized on Billy Evans' "National Honor Roll": tackle Stonewall McMannon; guard John "Clipper" Smith; and halfback Christie Flanagan. In addition, fullback Rex Enright received third-team honors on Walter Eckersall's 1925 All-America team.

1926 College Football All-America Team

The 1926 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1926. The six selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1926 season are (1) Collier's Weekly, as selected by Grantland Rice with cooperation from ten coaches, (2) the Associated Press, based on polling of "more than 100 coaches and critics", (3) the United Press, (4) the All-America Board, selected by Knute Rockne (Notre Dame), Glenn "Pop" Warner (Stanford), and Tad Jones (Yale), (5) the International News Service (INS), and (6) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA).

Other notable selectors included Billy Evans, the Central Press Association, the New York Sun, and Walter Eckersall.

1927 Army Cadets football team

The 1927 Army Cadets football team represented the United States Military Academy in the 1927 college football season. In their second season under head coach Biff Jones, the Cadets compiled a 9–1 record, shut out six of their ten opponents, and outscored all opponents by a combined total of 197 to 37. In the annual Army–Navy Game, the Cadets defeated the Midshipmen 14–9. The team's only loss came to national champion Yale by a 10 to 6 score.Four Army players were recognized on the All-America team. Halfback Red Cagle was a consensus first-team honoree and was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Tackle Bud Sprague was selected as a first-team honoree by the Associated Press (AP), the International News Service (INS), and the Central Press Association (CP). End Charles Born was selected as a second-team honoree by the United Press (UP), Hearst newspapers, New York Sun, and Billy Evans. Tackle George Perry was selected as a first-team honoree by the New York Sun.

1973 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1973 followed the system in place since 1971, except by adding the special election of Roberto Clemente, who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected Warren Spahn.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.

It selected three people: Billy Evans, George Kelly, and Mickey Welch.

The Negro Leagues Committee also met in person and selected Monte Irvin.

Ban Johnson

Byron Bancroft "Ban" Johnson (January 5, 1864 – March 28, 1931) was an American executive in professional baseball who served as the founder and first president of the American League (AL).

Johnson developed the AL—a descendant of the minor league Western League—into a "clean" alternative to the National League, which had become notorious for its rough-and-tumble atmosphere. To encourage a more orderly environment, Johnson strongly supported the new league's umpires, which eventually included Hall of Famer Billy Evans.With the help of league owners and managers such as Charles Comiskey, Charles Somers and Jimmy McAleer, Johnson lured top talent to the AL, which soon rivaled the more established National League. Johnson dominated the AL until the mid-1920s, when a public dispute with Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis culminated in his forced resignation as league president.

Billy Evans (Australian footballer)

Billy Evans (born 19 October 1996) is a former professional Australian rules footballer who played for the Brisbane Lions in the Australian Football League (AFL).

Evans played for the Bendigo Pioneers in the TAC Cup and represented Victoria Country at the 2014 AFL Under 18 Championships. He attended Catholic College Bendigo.Evans was drafted by the Brisbane Lions with their first selection and the fourth overall in the 2015 AFL rookie draft. He made his debut in the fourteen point loss against Gold Coast in round 19, 2015 at the Gabba. After seven matches with Brisbane, He was delisted at the conclusion of the 2016 season.

Billy Evans (disambiguation)

Billy Evans (1884–1956) was an American umpire in Major League Baseball.

Billy Evans may also refer to:

Billy Lee Evans (born 1941), American politician from Georgia

Billy Evans (footballer, born 1921) (1921–1960), English football (soccer) player

Billy Evans (Australian footballer) (born 1996), Australian rules footballer

Billy Evans (basketball) (born 1947), retired basketball point guard

Billy Evans (footballer, born 1921)

William Emmanuel Evans (5 September 1921 – 26 July 1960) was an English professional footballer.

He died of lung cancer in Grimsby in 1960, aged 38.

Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Anne Holmes (born February 3, 1984) is an American entrepreneur and the founder and former CEO of Theranos, a now defunct company known for its unlikely claims to have revolutionized blood testing using surprisingly small volumes of blood such as from a fingerprick. In 2015, Forbes named Holmes the youngest and wealthiest self-made female billionaire in America on the basis of a $9 billion valuation of Theranos. By the next year, following revelations of potential fraud, Forbes revised her net worth to zero dollars, and Fortune named Holmes one of the "World's Most Disappointing Leaders".The decline of Theranos began in 2015, when a series of journalistic and regulatory investigations revealed doubts about the company's technology claims, and whether Holmes had misled investors and the government. In 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Theranos and Holmes with deceiving investors by "massive fraud" through false or exaggerated claims about the accuracy of her blood-testing technology; Holmes settled the charges by paying a $500,000 fine, returning shares to the company, relinquishing her voting control of Theranos, and being barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company for ten years. In June 2018, a federal grand jury indicted Holmes and former Theranos chief operating officer Ramesh Balwani on nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for distributing blood tests with falsified results to consumers.The early credibility of Theranos was in part interpreted as an effect of Holmes's personal connections and ability to recruit the support of influential people including Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, George Shultz, James Mattis, and Betsy DeVos. Holmes was in a relationship with her chief operating officer Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani and is in a relationship with hotel heir Billy Evans.Holmes's career, the rise and dissolution of her company, and the subsequent fallout are the subject of a book, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by the Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou.

George Bogue

George Richardson Bogue (February 10, 1906 – October 13, 1972) was an American football player. He played at the fullback position in the National Football League for the Chicago Cardinals and Newark Tornadoes during the 1930 NFL season. He also played college football at Stanford University from 1923 to 1926. He threw a touchdown pass in the 1927 Rose Bowl to give Stanford its only touchdown of the game. He was selected by Billy Evans as the third-team halfback on his 1926 College Football All-America Team.

Newspaper Enterprise Association

The Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) is an editorial column and comic strip newspaper syndication service based in the United States and established in 1902. The oldest syndicate still in operation, the NEA was originally a secondary news service to the Scripps Howard News Service; it later evolved into a general syndicate best known for syndicating the comic strips Alley Oop, Our Boarding House, Freckles and His Friends, The Born Loser, Frank and Ernest, and Captain Easy / Wash Tubbs; in addition to an annual Christmas comic strip. Along with United Feature Syndicate, the NEA was part of United Media from 1978 to 2011, and is now a division of Andrews McMeel Syndication. The NEA once selected college All-America teams, and presented awards in professional football.

Oscar Davis (American football)

Oscar Davis was an American football guard for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets of the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was selected All-Southern and is a member of the Tech Athletics Hall of Fame and Tech All-Era Team (William Alexander Era). Davis was selected All-American in 1922 by Lawrence Perry and Billy Evans.

Veterans Committee
Negro League Committee
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Designated hitters
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