Spanier has been an umpire for 22 years

This article submitted by Aaron Ziemer on 8/11/99

Cyril Spanier Cyril Spanier has been umpiring baseball games for 22 years.

Spanier is from the Lake Henry area where he owns a dairy farm. Spanier is from a large family that had 11 children. Spanier's family has always had a great interest in sports, and he even has a brother, Mike Spanier, who will be a referee in the NFL this season.

In Spanier's 22 years behind the plate, he says he has never thrown a baseball player out of a game for arguing a call.

"I have never thrown anyone out of a game," said Spanier. "I have given a few warnings."

Spanier continues to be an umpire because of love for the game of baseball. He was asked to become an ump by Ron Schlangen and his cousin Urban Spanier.

"I love the game. I just wish there were more people in the area who were willing to be an umpire," said Spanier.

Spanier said that he has umpired many games recently, and had even thought about retiring at the end of the year, but he has decided he's just going to work less games.

"One thing about Cyril (Spanier) is that he is out there for the kids, and he loves the game," said Paynesville Area High School baseball coach Brad Skoglund.

One of Spaniers most memorable games that he has umpired was the first night game at the Elrosa baseball field, when they dedicated the field.

"Dan Hemmesch and I umped that game. It was a great game," said Spanier.

One of Spanier's toughest days was when he had scheduled two games to umpire. The first game he was umping was between Melrose and Regal in Melrose. The game went 14 innings and had almost caused him to be late for the second game he was supposed to ump in Roscoe that day.

"I had to umpire 23 innings that day," said Spanier. "It was a very quick drive from Melrose to Roscoe."

Spanier has been an umpire for almost every age group just about everywhere around the area.

"I have umped from fourth grade all the way up," said Spanier. "I have also umped from Foley to the east, to Starbuck in the west, Long Prairie in the north, and Dassel-Cokato to the south."

Spanier has really covered the central Minnesota area. He has not only umpired baseball, but he has also umpired girls softball.

"For as many games as I have umpired, I have never had a game go under protest," said Spanier.

According to Spanier baseball has changed a lot from the time he began playing and umpiring a game.

Spanier in action Cyril Stories

For as many games as Spanier has umpired there are many people around the area who have seen this colorful umpire in action.

Cyril Spanier in action behind the plate.

Many players on the area teams have "Cyril Stories." Here are just a few of them.

This one was told by Jeff "Kirby" Welle of the Roscoe Rangers.

Cyril was umping an amateur game between Roscoe and St. Martin. Jeff Schmitz was at the plate for St. Martin and had hit a ball to the gap.

The game was in Spanier's younger days and he had hustled down to second to see the play. Schmitz was attempting to stretch a double and the throw came in, and he was out. Spanier called him out, but his reasoning was a little odd.

"You're out because I beat you here," yelled Spanier.

The next story is told by Shannon Olmscheid of the Paynesville Pirates.

Cyril said to Olmscheid when he came to the plate that if he (Olmscheid) hit a home run, Cyril would owe Olmscheid a case.

If Olmscheid did not homer, he owed Cyril a 12-pack.

Olmscheid did not say how the bet turned out, or what kind of case Cyril was talking about.

The next couple of stories are told by Regal center fielder Tim Haines.

Randy Beier got picked off once in a game. Spanier said he said that he called Beier because he was leading off too far, and shouldn't have been.

The other story Haines remembered about Spanier is that one night they were down in Atwater to play a game, and the ump never showed up.

They decided to call Spanier to see if he could make it. At the time Spanier was in the barn, but he made it to the game to umpire in 20 minutes.

Haines said he didn't think too many people would make it from Lake Henry to Atwater in 20 minutes to umpire a game.

Return to Sports Archives