Jim Johnstone

From BR Bullpen


James Edward Johnstone

  • Bats unknown, Throws unknown

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Jim Johnstone was an American League umpire in 1902. He moved to the National League in 1903 and worked in that circuit through 1912. During that span, he officiated in the World Series in 1906 and 1909. He was later a Federal League umpire in 1915.

On August 6, 1906, he was at the center of a near riot at the end of a game between the first-place Chicago Cubs and second-place New York Giants at the Polo Grounds. He made the fans irate by ejecting Art Devlin and manager John McGraw of the Giants for arguing too vehemently after he had called Devlin out on an attempted steal of home. Then, after he called Bill Dahlen out on strikes with two men on base to end the 9th inning, confirming the Cubs' 3-1 win, fans rushed the field en masse in an attempt to make him pay. However, police intervened quickly, surrounding him and bringing him to the safety of the dressing room before the irate mob could get to him. The following day, he was denied access to the ballpark, on McGraw's orders, and he countered by declaring the game a forfeit in favor of the Cubs. But the Giants refuse the decision and designated one of their players, Sammy Strang to work the game as an umpire, asking the Cubs to do the same. The Cubs refused to play along, and now it was Strang who declared the game forfeited - but in favor of the Giants. And of course, McGraw claimed complete innocence, explaining that he had no idea why Johnstone failed to show up, which is why he asked Strang to step in (as was normal practice at the time). No one took this seriously and the next day, National League President Harry Pulliam ruled in Johnstone's favor. When Johnstone and his partner, Bob Emslie, returned to the field on August 8th, they were greeted with enthusiastic cheers from the New York fans.

He pitched in the minor leagues from 1894 to 1900 before becoming an umpire.

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