High school baseball umpires, especially those behind the plate are usually questioned several times during the course of the game for the calls they make and don’t make. Coaches more than players will often not be happy over balls and strikes and fans will not hesitate to tell the men in blue they are missing a good game. The best umpires are ones you hardly notice…they are just a part of the game and do their job in relative obscurity.

Regardless of what some people might think umpires who work games in the Shore Conference are dedicated to doing the best job they can and will be the first to admit they don’t see everything. There are plenty who see more than just balls and strikes and clearly, Tom Crenshaw is one of them.

It was a couple of weeks ago Tim McEneny, Jr. reached out to me regarding something that happened to his son Timmy who is a sophomore pitcher at Manasquan High School. Tim is a veteran basketball official who I have gotten to know and respect over the years. He wanted me to know about the circumstances of a game which his son pitched against Middletown North in April. Turns out he was throwing a perfect game with two outs in the 6th inning and Manasquan leading 5-0. Just four outs from history he lost that perfect game but went into the 7th having allowed just one hit and most importantly with that 5-0 lead. Unfortunately, it fell apart for the young lefthander and the Lions rallied for six runs and a dramatic victory which clearly was a major disappointment for Timmy.

The story does not end there…as a matter of fact that’s where it begins. Two days later a letter arrived at Manasquan High School that was addressed to Timmy. That letter was from Crenshaw who was the home plate umpire and witnessed first-hand the crushing loss that had been suffered by the team and its young pitcher. That letter can be seen below and it has left a lasting impression on father and son who were touched that an umpire would take the time to reach out and help turn a negative memory into a great moment. By the way, the letter has been framed and hangs on the wall in their home as a reminder that sports produces positives even in negative situations.