Town Ball umpire still calling the shots at 78 years old
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (KMSP) - On just about any summer night, you're bound to find Larry Gallagher umping a baseball game.
“The first time I called a ball and a strike in a game, I was 15 years old,” said Gallagher.
At 78 years old, he has slowed down, but not by much. It's his 63rd year putting on the gear and he will still do plenty of games this summer.
“I used to do 100 or more games a year, this year I'll be lucky to get in 70, pretty sure,” said Gallagher.
Gallagher is a staple for high school, American Legion, Town Ball and, until a few years ago, also college baseball. It's a job he loves even if people never seem to love the ump.
“I think there's a masochistic personality in all umpires they don't care what other people think, we know we did a good job,” said Gallagher. “I think any official is the keeper of the game and they make sure it's fair for everyone and that the behaviors do justice to the game.”
Gallagher and his wife, Barb, have a lot of great memories thanks to athletics. He spent most of his life as a teacher and coach of five different sports, influencing so many kids through the power of sports.
Baseball, however, has always been part of the fabric. He played Town Ball in Columbia Heights as a young man. He even got called up to the big leagues during a brief strike in 1979 of major league umpires.
Even though it seems thankless, Gallagher is respected and has earned a number of awards for his service.
When he's headed to a game, the opportunity is never lost on him. He takes the back roads to relish the experience and he takes it all in when he reaches the ballpark.
“When you get there, you see all these people that aren't players that are making a game happen - the announcer, the concessionaire, the grounds crew, people that like baseball, but they aren't the players,” said Gallagher.