Home > No-Hitter > Brian Runge: MLB Umpire, Lucky Bastard

Brian Runge: MLB Umpire, Lucky Bastard

This Brian wishes he had the fortunes of pictured Brian

I’m still young. I don’t have a particularly healthy diet, and I don’t work out as much as I should, so maybe I’m an old 27. But 27 is a fine age, unless you’re a brilliant modern musician, in which case 27 is usually your final age.

The point is, I should have a decent amount of time left in whatever reality this is. If recent history is a guide, I will make it to at least another 600 or 700 baseball games during my life. But I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never, ever see a no-hitter.

I came relatively close in 1995. I was at the then-Anaheim Stadium and watching the Yankees take on the then-California Angels.

Jack McDowell, a real fan favorite, pitched seven innings of no-hit ball. Then Chili Davis opened the eighth by tapping a cheap, lousy infield  single between first and second base, and everything fell apart. McDowell allowed three more hits that inning — legitimate hits — and the Yankees ended up losing, 3-1. Since then, I don’t think any starter has made it past the fourth without allowing a hit while I watched in person.

Umpire Brian Runge certainly can’t share my pain.

It’s not rare for an umpire to be present at multiple no-hitters during a career; call it a “job hazard.” But what Runge has seen in the past seven weeks has to open the eyes of even those in his profession.

April 21: White Sox pitcher Philip Humber throws a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners. Brendan Ryan is the 27th out, rung up on a somewhat controversial call. The man behind the plate making that call? Brian Runge.

June 8: Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five … six Seattle Mariners pitchers no-hit the Dodgers. Behind the plate? Brian Runge.

June 13: Matt Cain throws a perfect game, the first in the 130-year history of the Giants franchise. Behind home plate? Well, it was Ted Barrett. But over at third base was Brian freaking Runge.

That raises this question: How is it that Madison Bumgarner allowed six hits in his start on Tuesday night with Runge in his line of sight during every pitch? Everything was there for something special!

Furthermore, Runge was the home-plate ump for the game formerly known as Matt Cain’s best outing of the season, a one-hit, zero-walk, 11-strikeout shutout against the Pirates on April 13. He was also the home-plate umpire for Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter in 2009.

Since umpires work in crews, it’s worth noting that Barrett has also been present for all of these notable 2012 games. But right now, Runge’s ahead of hm on the scoreboard, 2-1, of no-hitters worked behind home plate. Plus, he’s got the better name, so he should get the pub.

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  1. Anonymous
    September 13, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Ted Barrett has two perfect games and a no-hitter behind the plate, as well as being on the bases for Runge’s no-hitter and perfect game, so by my scoreboard, Barrett is ahead.

  2. September 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    If you include what the two did prior to this season, yes, you are correct. But my score of 2-1 was based solely off of what has happened this year.

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