Bill Byron, the 'singing umpire,' once thought a player's insult was so original, he didn't eject him
Umpire Bill Byron may have been the most interesting umpire in Major League history. (OK, fine, Cowboy Joe West and his country music career are in the running.)
Known as "The Singing Umpire," for the rhyming bars he would drop on batters after they struck out, Byron planned on retiring to focus on his plumbing business. He reversed that decision when the Pacific Coast League offered him a schedule that would let him do both.
Given that he was such a unique individual, it shouldn't be shocking that he respected creativity in others. As was detailed in the Feb. 3, 1917, issue of The Chicago Eagle, Byron was once so impressed by a player's retort that he didn't eject him from the game.
After calling a batter out at the plate one day, "the player arose, dusted off his uniform, and then pointing to the chimney which towers high over the field, he said to Byron: 'Bill, I ain't sayin' nothin' to you. I ain't makin' no kick or nothin', but I hope that that chimney falls on you and hits you one brick at a time.'"
Bill says the hope was so soothing and so original that he did not put the player out of the game."
Might be the only time a player has threatened an umpire with a falling chimney in baseball history.
(h/t Baseball Think Factory)