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1980s / Ron Luciano
Remember flamboyant American League baseball umpire Ron Luciano? During the 1970s he was the sport's most colorful arbiter. To relieve the tedium during dull games, Luciano would call runners out by pumping his fist numerous times. He would chat and joke with players, pat them on the back when they did well, and engage in bits of mischief. He had a long-running feud with Baltimore Orioles' manager Earl Weaver, whom he once ejected from both ends of a doubleheader. When Luciano quit umpiring to become a baseball broadcaster for NBC in 1980, Weaver said, 'I hope he takes this job more seriously than he took his last one.' Luciano authored five books of baseball anecdotes that were well received. So it came as a shock to the baseball community when the good-natured and well-liked Luciano inexplicably took hs own life in January 1995 at his home in Endicott, NY. He was 57. He left a suicide note containing detailed funeral instructions, but gave no reason for why he had decided to kill himself.