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McClelland, Crawford Rated Top Umpires

<i> Times Wire Services</i>

Tim McClelland and Jerry Crawford are baseball’s top umpires, and Ken Kaiser and Charlie Williams are the worst, according to a survey by the players’ association.

Players rated umpires on physical condition, physical and mental toughness, accuracy of calls on the bases, accuracy of calls at the plate, consistency, temperament, respect for players and overall capacity.

McClelland topped the American League ratings, followed by Jim Joyce, Richie Garcia, John Hirschbeck, Mike Reilly and Drew Coble.

Kaiser was 32nd and last, with Durwood Merrill 31st, Ted Hendry 30th, Joe Brinkman 29th, Dale Ford 28th and Drew Coble 27th.

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Crawford, head of the umpires’ union, was tops in the National League, followed by Ed Rapuano, Ed Montague, Randy Marsh, Frank Pulli and Jeff Kellogg. Williams was 36th and last, with Eric Gregg 35th, Joe West 34th, Bruce Froemming 33rd and Harry Wendelstedt 32nd.

“I give no credence whatsoever to those ratings,” umpires’ union head Richie Phillips said. “I think they’re patently absurd. I’ve even been told that some players had their kids fill them out.”

Commissioner Bud Selig declined comment.

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Cal Ripken Sr. was remembered as a loving father and a dedicated teacher, in a tearful funeral service in Aberdeen, Md., that broke sharply with the stoic public image of the baseball family.

Both future Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. and his brother Bill wept openly as they eulogized their father, who died Thursday of lung cancer at age 63.

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The New York Yankees traded right-handed reliever Darren Holmes and about $1 million to the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitcher Ben Ford and minor league catcher Izzy Molina. . . . The St. Louis Cardinals traded John Frascatore to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Clint Sodowsky in an exchange of right-handed pitchers. . . . Florida Marlin left fielder Cliff Floyd was put on the 15-day disabled list because of a sprained left knee. . . . Houston Astro third baseman Ken Caminiti spent Monday night in a Florida hospital with a sinus infection. He was expected to be released Tuesday. . . . Yankee pitcher Andy Pettitte is expected to start the regular season on the disabled list because of a strained muscle in his throwing elbow.

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