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The Umpire Strikes Back

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  720 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Here is Ron Luciano, the funniest ump ever to call balls and strikes. A huge and awesome legend who leaps and spins and shoots players with an index finger while screaming OUTOUTOUT!!! Now baseball's flamboyant fan-on-the-field comes out from behind the mask to call the game as he really sees it.
Mass Market Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 1st 1984 by Bantam (first published March 1st 1982)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  720 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Tom Barber
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this several years ago and it was just pure fun, as I recall!!!
Joe Kelleher
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this at a young age, and maybe it's nostalgia speaking, but I would list him among the best American humorists that I have read. He draws sharp, yet compassionate caricatures of Earl Weaver, Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson, Nolan Ryan, and dozens of other hall-of-famers. His musings about the lonely life of a Major League umpire are amplified by the knowledge that he committed suicide in the mid-1990s. I am hoping that someone out there is writing a screenplay about Luciano's life and death ...more
James Morovich
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a fun baseball book written from the perspective of an umpire. Plenty of stories and anecdotes from one of the most charismatic umpires of all time, who worked for the American League from 1969-1979.
John Cagle
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it
solid light read. more substance, second half.
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Ron Luciano. Even if you are not a sports fan, let alone baseball fan, you should find his book funny. He has a corny, exaggerated sense of humor. His experiences are quite funny.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball
I was a huge fan of Luciano as an umpire and broadcaster and the book lived up to his reputation. These are his best stories of his battles with the who's who of baseball and it's laugh out loud funny.
May 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, sports
The memoirs of American League Umpire Ron Luciano make for both interesting and disillusioning reading in The Umpire Strikes Back. His memories are interesting for nostalgia’s sake (I watched a lot more baseball in the ‘70s and ‘80s than I do in my present situation) where he talked of people I’d watched, rooted for, and, on a couple of occasions, met. His anecdotes are disillusioning because of the overt pride he took in sharing about his bad calls and his unrepentant willingness to change them ...more
Anup Sinha
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was particularly enjoyable to me as a baseball fan who came of age in the 1980s and enjoyed the reverent look at the managers, players, and umpires before that time. I'd heard of this book when it came out, when I was very young; I think waiting 35 years to read it actually made it better!

What first inspired me to find this book was watching an old TWIB clip of Ron Luciano and remembering his tragic suicide in the mid-1990s. Perhaps I was driven by morbid curiosity, how someone who
Jul 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
If you love BASEBALL then you would absolutely love this book. Umpire Ron Luciano presents a wonderfully organized compilation of anecdotes about umpiring, pitching, catching, hitting, fielding, broadcasting, managing, and arguing with the umpire. He readily admits that umpires miss calls and provides reasons (some that make sense and some that demonstrate laziness and unprofessionalism).. He honestly describes the reasons for his "feud" with former Baltimore manager Earl Weaver. Each anecdote ...more
Jan 26, 2014 rated it liked it
I first read The Umpire Strikes Back (and its sequels, Strike Two and The Fall of the Roman Umpire) in the early 1980s. I was living in a city with two major league ballparks, attended live games regularly, and watched a lot of baseball on television. I now live in a baseball desert, with no major league stadium nearby, and I haven't attended a live game since 2004. It is also difficult to find games on free TV.

When I read these books in the 1980s I would probably have given them five stars. I
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
My father read this book to me at nights before I went to bed and it was perfect for a nerdy little baseball dork like myself just starting to get into insider baseball. This book was the first time I realized that without a great catcher calling the game a lights out pitcher would be playing handicapped and I loved how colorful all the characters seemed to be, each with their own attitude about the game.

Rereading it as an adult I am still struck by those larger than life characters especially
Aaron Sinner
May 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: baseball
Briefly: The parts are greater than their whole

The Umpire Strikes Back isn’t so much one cohesive book as it is a collection of short stories. Ron Lusciano’s book details his years as a major league umpire, and while the writing isn’t particularly inspired, its strength is that it’s told by someone who had an inside look at baseball for so many years—and it certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s witty. This is the sort of book where you’ll remember little bits and pieces, the anecdotes and the
Riley Haas
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it
"This is entertaining and illuminating but certainly only on one level. Luciano excels at that traditional, yuk-yuk self-deprecating American humour of the pre-Lenny Bruce era that offends absolutely no one. He has numerous anecdotes which are mildly amusing and certainly informative about particular players' idiosyncrasies as well.
But Luciano never really makes any kind of greater assessment about baseball, refereeing, sport or life - and he fills the book with extraordinarily non-controversial
Stan McCown
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Baseball fans in general.
For a baseball fan, THE UMPIRE STRIKES BACK is an insider delight. Simply to hear from an umpire at all would have been a treat but Ron Luciano had a unique view of the game and his job, so his accounts had a comedic twist. Among his anecdotes were unexpected developments, such as players asking to be thrown out of games so they could take care of personal business and managers coming out to argue in order to get television time. The most memorable case was Luciano reporting to a game with a ...more
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: baseball junkies
An appropriate book for an avid baseball fan that can remember back to when athletes were paid like bank tellers. Luciano is an umpire that few that were there can forget because of his cross between an umpire, an ex NFL football player, his exibitionism and his theatrics. He doesn't miss much in this fairly dated book and gives some entertaing insights to managers, players, owners and other umpires of the sixties and seventies. If you are not over fifty and not a devpted fan of baseball, skip ...more
John Cress
May 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is exactly what one thinks it is from the cover, an autobiography of a major league baseball umpire. This book is laugh out loud from cover to cover (especially if one enjoys baseball) and I really enjoyed the stories told about the author's feud with Earl Weaver. He also discussed a lot of players from the early 80s when I grew up so there is a nostalgia factor that appealed to me. I wouldn't mind re-reading this one in a few years so I could re-laugh my way through it again.
Doug Dams
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ron Luciano was an American League umpire that was as much of an attraction as the game. The book tells the story of Ron and his career as an umpire. It's filled with funny stories about the players, the game and of course umpires. It's a good funny read for the baseball fan.
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
For whatever reason, even though I saw this book in paperback form in every used book shop I went into in my youth, I never read it until now. It's like opening a time capsule to 70s and 80s baseball, and a great delight to read. Luciano's anecdotes make for great fun.
N.N. Light
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A terrific read written through the eyes of one of the most popular baseball umpires to ever be in the game. He gives a funny yet honest peek into the life of a baseball umpire. It is not as glamorous as one might think. In fact, it is sad and often lonely. A must read for any baseball fan!
Mike Farrell
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is still a fun book 30+ years after I read it the first time. Luciano's tongue in cheek humor is still fresh and the memories he brings back from Major League Baseball in the 70's was a lot of fun. If you enjoy a humorous story about baseball in the 70's, you will enjoy this funny book.
Don LaFountaine
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a funny book! You normally don't get the umpire's point of view and this was especially entertaining! It is definitely dated, and there are situations that he discusses how he handled them that umpires today would handle differently. A funny side of baseball viewpoint!
Scott Stern
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hard to imagine a baseball fan - especially one around during the Earl Weaver Years - not thoroughly enjoying each of the books he wrote. He has a great voice, tells stories so well, and they are truly hilarious.
Mario Lanza
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the funniest books I have ever read.
May 05, 2014 rated it liked it
A funny book by an interesting character. Ron umpired during the 60s and 70s and shares a ton of great anecdotes with humor and charm.
Don Reilman
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
He was a Great Umpire too...
Don LaFountaine
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
It was a funny book; baseball from the umpire's perspective. It was fun to read about my favorite game from a different viewpoint.
Dec 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: humour
Lots of funny baseball stories
Ben Hiatt
Dec 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If baseball were presented in this style I would love the game so much more, just brilliant!
Elizabeth deWolfe
Jun 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Awesome and hilarious book written by a former MLB umpire. A must-read for any baseball fan.
Aug 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, biography
Luciano was an eccentric baseball umpire known for his arguments with Earl Weaver. This biography was pretty funny.
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Ronald Michael Luciano was an American Major League Baseball umpire from 1969 to 1979 in the American League. He was known for his flamboyant style, clever aphorisms, and a series of published collections of anecdotes from his colorful career. (wikipedia entry)
“Never being a person satisfied to create a small disaster when I could just as easily create a catastrophe, I realized I was about to embarrass myself on national television. There are people who claim I didn't know what I was doing as a football player. They're wrong. There are people who claim I didn't know what I was doing as an umpire. They're wrong. But I knew I didn't know what I was doing in that booth, and within ten minutes the entire nation was going to find out.

I glanced over my shoulder. A burly sound technician was blocking the door. There was no way out.”
More quotes…