Hall of Fame Major League Baseball umpire (1874-1951), known as the 'Old Arbitrator' and the 'father of baseball umpires,' who worked a record 18 World Series. World War II-dated ALS signed “W. J. Klem, Chief of Staff, National League Umpires",” one page, 8 x 10.5, March 28, 1945. Penned on the reverse of a typed letter from Sgt. Ira Edelson, who writes to Klem regarding a crucial play in a ball game between the Army All-Stars and the Navy All-Stars. Klem's detailed response, in full (spelling and grammar retained):
"In answer to your querry's on the reverse side of this sheet the answers are as follows.
#1 There is no such rule of a pitched ball being an automatic strike. In this case the pitch was what the Umpire declared it to be.
#2 The fact that the runner crossed the plate before the ball did simply means that he stole home, (Yes) the play starts when the pitcher starts his motion of Delivery. The delivery of the ball to the catcher in this case, was entirely up to the good judgement of the Umpire whether or not it was a ball or strike, and if as you say it was a ball, then the count was 2-2 and the run score's. If the pitched ball had been declared a strike and the batsman was put out before he reached 1st base then he run would not score, Rule 46-Sec 3 states The batsman become a base runner instantly after 3 strikes have been declared by the Umpire and Rule 52 states that if he reach home on or during a play in which the third man be forced out, or be put out, before reaching 1st base, a run shall not count." In fine condition. Accompanied by the original hand-addressed mailing envelope.
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