BASEBALL UMPIRE PAM POSTEMA MARCH 14, 1988

April 27, 1997

The second shift runs from 3:30 p.m. to midnight at an
auto-parts factory in Mansfield, Ohio. Pam Postema likes to work
those hours because they match the schedule she used to have as
a professional baseball umpire. Nine years ago, when she
appeared on our cover, Postema was tantalizingly close to
becoming the first female umpire in the major leagues. It never
happened, of course, for her or any other woman. Postema hasn't
called a game at any level since 1989. Today, the lady is a
welder.

Postema, 43, works on the muffler line at Newman Technology
Incorporated. Her job consists of inserting tailpipes into
muffler housings, turning the assemblages over to a robot for
welding and, if need be, repairing the welds bungled by the
robot--which happens often enough to keep Postema busy. "The
robots aren't perfect," she says with mock wonderment. "Imagine
that."

In other words, they're a lot like umpires. In 1988 Postema was
one of seven candidates the National League was considering for
two vacant umpiring positions. But she was passed over that
spring and then again the following year. After the '89 season,
her seventh in Triple A, she was released. (Rarely do umpires
work longer than four years in Triple A, which looks to uncover
fresh talent for the majors.) Postema moved from Phoenix to San
Clemente, Calif., where she drove a Federal Express truck and
wrote an angry memoir, You've Got to Have Balls to Make It in
This League. In 1991 she filed a sex-discrimination suit against
Major League Baseball. She settled out of court, under two
conditions: that she wouldn't reveal the amount of the
settlement and wouldn't apply for umpiring jobs in any league
affiliated with Major League Baseball.

A year ago Postema moved to Mansfield, 30 miles from her
hometown of Willard, Ohio, where her 77-year-old father, Phil,
still lives. She found work at Newman Tech, first as a temp and
then, last June, full time. She had never welded before. "It's
real laid-back, and they have a good insurance plan," she says.
"But I like umpiring, and I'd rather be doing that than a
factory job." In fact, Postema is thinking of moving to Florida
to umpire at the college and high school levels, and women's
fast-pitch softball also interests her. As for big league
baseball, she rarely watches it, even on television. "If I'm
channel surfing and see a game, I'll stop for 10 minutes, then
move on," she says. "I don't care too much about Major League
Baseball. They didn't care too much about me."

--GRANT WAHL

COLOR PHOTO: RONALD C. MODRA [Cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED featuring Pam Postema]

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)