Standing the Gaff: The Life and Hard Times of a Minor League Umpire By Harry Johnson
Ex-major leaguer Bill Brennan and veteran Southern arbiter Dan Pfenninger headed the staff, but Steamboat Johnson immediately became the most talked-about umpire in the league. He opened the season with the Memphis Chicks and the Little Rock Travelers; the latter club was managed by the fiery Kid Elberfeld, long the league's holy terror. The initial game in Little Rock on April 24 featured only routine carping, as did the second contest, played in Memphis. But in the third contest, also played in Memphis, Johnson tossed Elberfeld and had him escorted by police out of the park. The next day Johnson again tossed the Kid and banished him from the park after Elberfeld reportedly grabbed the umpire's coattails and threatened to hit him. President Martin promptly suspended Elberfeld, and the Little Rock papers mercilessly roasted Johnson, calling him a "comedian” and "czar," a "very poor" umpire who had "many bad guesses on balls and strikes," and a man who carried a "grudge" against Elberfeld and the Travelers.