Born in Trenton, N.J., Al was the first umpire to wear glasses on a permanent basis and the first umpire to wear his name on his hat — AL, for “American League” — according to baseball historian and writer Dan Schlossberg.
As a professional baseball umpire, Al worked in the American League from 1976 to 1999, and throughout both Major Leagues in 2000 and 2001. When the leagues merged in 2000, he retained his number 24 jersey, which he started wearing when the American League adopted umpire numbers in 1980.
Al would ultimately umpire 3,392 major league games in his 26-year career, ranking ninth in number of games officiated. The games at which he umpired included two World Series (1983 and 1989), two All-Star Games (1984 and 1995), five American League Championship Series (1979, 1982, 1987, 1929 and 1999), and three American League Division Series (1981, 1996 and 2000).
His career was not entirely without controversy. He once famously ejected his father, Trenton sportswriter Herb Clark, from the umpires’ dressing room at Yankee Stadium.