Since we were founded 20 years ago, retired major league umpire Al Clark of Williamsburg, Virginia, has been captivating our travelers with his stories about life inside the baseball diamond.
This year, in honor of our 20th anniversary, Al is taking his role to a whole new level. During the Hall of Fame Induction trip, Al will tell his stories in a close and personal way as he dines with travelers who choose our special add-on. Have breakfast, lunch or dinner with Al, and let his baseball lore enhance your dining experience, your trip—and your life!
“It’s so easy for me to talk with a small group of people who are baseball fans,” says the gregarious 68-year-old. “Very seldom, if ever, do they have the opportunity to talk with an umpire, and they want to know what it’s like to work in the World Series and be involved in national events on a personal basis.”
Al says he expects each small group will have its own unique personality. The conversations will be free-flowing and not scripted, so they can meander in many directions. Typically, Al says topics of particular interest include what the players are thinking and the umpire’s perspective on older players versus newer players.
“I am well-versed enough to read a group and to take it in a direction that’s most beneficial for their enjoyment,” he says.
The meal add-on will be offered this year to provide a level of service no other tour operators can match. “Sports Travel and Tours does something different from any other baseball tour group that’s out there, and that is having all of their travelers hear from me—an umpire through my traditional ‘Ump’s Eye View’ program,” Al says. “No other group does that. And so we decided that as part of the 20th anniversary, we’d do it even bigger and better, and create a more special situation.”
Traditionally, Al has kicked off tours in Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; New York; Boston; and even at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.
Given his rich history in baseball, Al has no shortage of material to talk about with baseball fans. He worked 3,392 regular season games (the ninth most of any umpire in major league baseball history), 56 post-season games, two World Series, two All Star games, three American League Division Series and five American League Championship Series.
Because of his extensive experience—as well as his charming knowledge of baseball fun facts—Al provides travelers with a whole new perspective on the game that they know and love.
“If you’re a baseball fan, hearing firsthand what being an umpire is about is going to be quite enthralling,” Al says. “It’s going to add a dimension to your enjoyment as a fan, knowing what is going on in the minds of the people on the field.”
Even outside of Sports Travel and Tours, Al keeps himself busy with speaking events, taking part, for instance, in the Fireside Chats at his local country club, after-dinner presentations around the country and motivational speaking to middle and upper management and larger corporations.
This year, Al will offer his “Ump’s Eye View: An Inside Look Into Big League Baseball” presentations during the Hall of Fame Induction weekend, kicking off trips in Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. Packages that feature “Umps Eye View” include Eastern Loop, Going Yard, Induction Plus, East Coast Sampler, East Coast Classic, East Coast Memories, Triple Play and Mid-Atlantic.
Al is the author of Called Out But Safe: A Baseball Umpire’s Journey, published by The University of Nebraska Press. The book will be made available to travelers; it encompasses many of the occurrences that Al witnessed in his 26-year MLB career. Chapters include stories about the 1989 Earthquake World Series in San Francisco, California; Ripken’s consecutive games-played streak, breaking Lou Gehrig’s iconic record; and Nolan Ryan’s 300th victory.
To learn more about Al, read our previous blog post, “Retired Umpire Brings Unique Perspective to Baseball Trips.”