The Little League® Umpire uniform is unique. Unlike other Little League volunteers, umpires typically chose to officiate games after being involved at the local or district level in other capacities. However, there are those individuals who have reluctantly joined the umpiring fraternity after being approached by a manager or league official to officiate games because there was no one else available.
In whatever manner a person becomes an umpire, those who embrace the craft and continue to volunteer in this most critical role, will want to look the part. The wardrobe varies in many ways depending on budget, preference, and league specifications.
Use this checklist of essential items to complete your umpire attire and stock your equipment bag.
The base umpire is to wear comfortable “low top” sneakers with rubber soles, or turf shoes with rubberize cleats (solid black, or black and white). The plate umpire is strongly encouraged to purchase “plate shoes” with steel toes and rubberized cleats (solid black, or black and white). A “low top” or “high top” plate shoe is personal preference.
The plate and base umpire are to wear black, breathable, calf length athletic socks.
Heather gray pants come with or without pleats. The pants are to be long enough to completely cover the ankle for base umpires; and cover the back of the shoes for plate umpires. Pants with cuffs are a personal preference.
A black, sheen satin (shiny) or regular leather 1 ¾-inch vinyl belt is recommended for both plate and base umpires.
Umpire shirts come in a variety of colors and styles. The standard Little League Umpire shirt is black with a white stripe on the collar and sleeves, and a left breast pocket. The colors are decided by your league’s or district’s Umpire-In-Chief. All shirts should have the official Little League Umpire placed four inches below left shoulder seam on a set-in sleeve.
The plate and base umpire(s) are to wear a hat on the field at all times and are encouraged to wear a clean, unstained and “blocked” umpire hat with a 2-inch brim. The plate umpire is never to wear the hat backwards.
Always be prepared to go behind the plate by wearing a moisture-wicking full-length athletic pants over top of your athletic supporter and under your plate pants. The undershirt is to be black with no logos. Again, whether on bases or behind the plate, it is recommended to wear a moisture-wicking shirt (long or shirt sleeve depending on temperature), or a cotton shirt.
Every umpire will use standard equipment to officiate games. Often local leagues will provide this equipment, while more experienced umpires will annually budget to purchase their own equipment, a few items at a time.
All pieces of the umpire uniform are to be kept in clean and pristine condition. Remember that an umpire who looks well-kept gives the impression of preparedness, authority, and competence. In a six- or seven-inning game, the umpire that takes pride in his appearance can easily earn the benefit of the doubt for a least two to three innings per game. The rest is up to you.