Here’s a story about Mike Tyson and umpire Ted Barrett.

Ted Barrett

Ted Barrett was the home plate umpire in Monday’s game between the Dodgers and Giants. (Getty Images)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — After the Dodgers tied the Giants yesterday, manager Don Mattingly mentioned that there is no instant replay, and no challenge system, in place during spring training.

When a reporter suggested that he dispute calls the “old fashioned way,” he declined.

“Teddy’s a big boy,” Mattingly said, referring to home plate umpire Ted Barrett. “He used to box with Tyson. You don’t want to mess with Teddy.”

I decided to fact-check this one. There are no references to Tyson sparring with Barrett in this 1989 article from the Eugene Register-Guard, but there is this tidbit about Barrett’s boxing background:

As an amateur super heavyweight (more than 201 pounds) boxer he was 36-6 with 20 knockouts. He never fought as a pro, but sparred a lot against guys like Greg Page and James Broad, and worked out with George Foreman and Greg Haugen.

“My family says I was the greatest pro fighter who never was,” Barrett said.

Maybe Barrett and Tyson did cross paths at some point. They’re close to the same age (Barrett is about a year older) and the article mentions that Barrett is originally from upstate New York — where Tyson honed his boxing chops en route to a brief-but-memorable reign as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

A Mike Tyson story on a baseball blog. Enjoy it. They don’t come around often.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.