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Golf + MLB – 1970 – Highlights – Tony Jacklin Wins US Open + Retirement Beloved MLB Ump Emmett Ashford

Emmett Ashford (November 23, 1914 – March 1, 1980), nicknamed Ash, was the first African American umpire in Major League Baseball….while working in the American League from 1966 to 1970.  By the early 1960’s, many West Coast sportswriters began to suggest that Ashford be promoted to the major leagues….so, in September 1965, Ashford’s contract was sold to the American League…..and Emmett made his debut at D.C. Stadium on April 11, 1966.  He quickly became a sensation, becoming known for sprinting around the infield after foul balls or plays on the bases. Ashford also brought a new style to being an umpire. He wore jewelry, including flashy cuff links, and wore polished shoes and freshly-pressed suits. While some observers believed that his race prevented him from working in the majors earlier than he did, others maintained that his flashy style actually delayed his major league debut due to general disdain for umpires to draw attention to themselves. The Sporting News stated that “For the first time in the history of the grand old American game, baseball fans may buy a ticket to watch an umpire perform.” Ashford was the left field umpire in the 1967 All-Star Game….and worked all five games of the 1970 World Series….but did not work home plate.  Ashford reached the American League’s retirement age of 55 in December 1969….but still umpired one additional season in 1970 before retiring. 

Anthony Jacklin is a retired English golfer…..who was the most successful British player of his generation….after winning two major championships….the 1969 British Open Championship….and the  1970 U.S. Open…..and was also Ryder Cup captain from 1983 to 1989….with Europe winning two and tying another of these four events. In 1969, Jacklin became the first British player to win The British Open Championship in 18 years….while winning by two strokes at Royal Lytham & St Annes. The following season he won his second major title….the U.S. Open by seven strokes on a windblown Hazeltine National Golf Club course.  It was the only U.S. Open victory by a European player in an 84-year span (1926–2009)….as Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell ended that streak in 2010. 

Jacklin won eight events on the European Tour between its first season in 1972 and 1982. He also won tournaments in Europe prior to the European Tour era….and in the United States, South America, South Africa and Australasia.  His 1968 PGA Tour win at the Jacksonville Open Invitational was the first by a European player on the U.S. Tour since the 1920’s….and Jacklin was the first British player since the 1940’s and Henry Cotton to devote much of his effort to American Tour events.

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