Quote: Baseball: calling them as he sees them [variant: call em as I see em] (1910 May 24)

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu May 26 21:04:21 UTC 2011

Jonathan Lighter wrote
> I calls 'em as I sees 'em.
> (PS: This famous quote, from an anecdote told by baseball umpire Bill Klem,
>  is absent from YBQ despite a whopping 2,000,000 raw Gogglits. GB takes it
> back to 1929.)

Dan Goncharoff found an excellent 1919 citation.

Cite: 1910 May 24, Milwaukee Journal, Nerve Of Umpire by Brownie, Page
9, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Google News archive)

Umpire Van Syckle, whom the crowd got after in St. Paul Sunday, may
not be the best umpire in the business, but you have got to hand it to
him for his nerve in calling them as he sees them.

Cite: 1915 June 27, Boston Daily Globe, Queerest Triple Play I Ever
Saw by John Henry Honus Wagner, Page 45, Boston, Massachusetts.

He never was a "runner-up," as they say in golf, when he was
exchanging personalities with the ump, and believe me, you have to be
mighty quick with the tongue to even hold your own with some of the
men who call 'em as they see 'em in our league.

Cite: 1917 February 25, New York Times, Baseball Salaries Still At Top
Notch, Page 74, New York. (ProQuest)

[The speaker is umpire Bill Byron aka Lord Byron]

Gradually the fellow who pays to see baseball is beginning to realize
that the  umpire cares nothing for the result of  the game  or a
pennant race and is out there to call them as he sees them.

There is a false match dated 1903 in Google Books "Debates: official
report: Volume 6, Canada. Parliament. House of Commons". A date probe
shows this volume was published in 1950 or later.

There is also a false match in a famous baseball history book referred
to as "The Church Book" by Seymour Roberts Church. GB assigns this
book a date of 1902, but data at HathiTrust indicates that the
document is a 1974 facsimile reprint of the 1902 publication. The
following text appears in the book:

"I call 'em," runs the present-day umpire's proudest boast, "as I see 'em."

Extracted text from near this passage refers to "stop-action instant
replay". So this is from an introduction or foreword added in modern
times. The longer name of the book is "Base Ball: 1845-1871: Volume 1
of Base Ball: The History, Statistics and Romance of the American
National Game from Its Inception to the Present Time" by Seymour
Roberts Church.

There are other phrases expressing somewhat similar ideas in a
non-baseball context. This suggests, to me, that the date can be
pushed further back.

[=< 1878] to tell of things as I see them
[=< 1880] I tell things as I see them
[=< 1895] I'll call it as I see fit


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