Never playing baseball himself, Tommy Connolly began his major league umpiring career in 1898 with the National League. A disagreement with league President Nicholas Young had him back in the minors by 1900. It was in 1901, with the founding of the American League, that Connolly found an umpiring home where he would remain for thirty more years. Because of when he began in the AL, he was present for many firsts, including the christenings of both Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park. He was also a part of the umpiring team that oversaw the inaugural World Series in 1903. Upon his retirement from the field in 1931, he became the AL Umpire in Chief until 1954 and helped refine the craft by encouraging scouting and education.
For the first few years of his career, Connolly often umpired games by himself. It wasn’t until later that the American League hired two umpires to cover a single game.
July 20, 2011