Center Field on Fire: An Umpire's Life with Pine Tar Bats, Spitballs, and Corked Personalities
As entertaining as a Lou Piniella tantrum and as juicy as a Gaylord Perry spitball, Center Field on Fire chronicles the remarkable 32-year career of ... Show synopsis As entertaining as a Lou Piniella tantrum and as juicy as a Gaylord Perry spitball, Center Field on Fire chronicles the remarkable 32-year career of major league umpire Dave Phillips, as written with veteran sportswriter Rob Rains. Phillips walked out of the umpires' dressing room ready to start the second game of a doubleheader at Chicago's Comiskey Park on July 12, 1979, only to witness center field on fire. Disco Demolition Night--a promotion created by White Sox owner Bill Veeck--had resulted in the outfield literally going up in smoke as thousands of disco records were burned between the two games of the doubleheader. That night was only one of the many episodes experienced by Phillips, who was also behind the plate during the notorious George Brett pine tar bat incident. Phillips describes how he once challenged Billy Martin to a fight, why he ejected Gaylord Perry for throwing a spitball, and how confiscating Albert Belle's corked bat led to a robbery and a scandal. In a book filled with humorous anecdotes, Phillips also offers his opinions about some of the most controversial personalities in baseball, including commissioner Bud Selig, all-time hits leader Pete Rose, and former umpires union president Richie Phillips. Dave Phillips worked four World Series, six League Championship Series, and three Division Series, making Center Field on Fire a book no baseball fan will want to miss.