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N.L. Halts Strict Balk Calls

Apr. 26, 1963 - The spreading controversy over calling balks in the National League today resulted in a temporary halt in the strict interpretation of the rule by umpires. The league president, Warren Giles, announced he has ordered his umpiring teams to require pitchers “in a set position, to come to a stop, but disregard the requirement of ‘at least one second.’” Giles said the matter will be ironed out in a conference May 7 with baseball commissioner Ford Frick and Joe Cronin, president of the American League. Frick called for the meeting yesterday after noting the controversy and the statistics showing only 2 balks called in American League games this year compared to 68 in the National League. Frick said he wanted uniformity if the rule is retained. All baserunners advance one base when a balk is called. Before reaching his decision, Giles polled the managers on how they felt. The consensus, headed by managers Casey Stengel (pictured), Fred Hutchinson, Harry Craft, and Johnny Keane, called for an easing of the interpretation of the rule. Frick said the rules committee might eliminate the words “at least one second” when it convened next December.


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