Fereon umpired for the Fort Wayne Daisies from1948 through 1954 according to existing records.
He was a soldier during WW II and served 42 months in the US Army where he obtained the rank of staff sergeant and earned a Bronze Star for his service to our country. He After his discharge from the service, he returned to his hometown of Bryan, Ohio. He worked his family's business and married the love of his life, Margaret Strasbaugh.
In 1948, Betts began his new career in baseball. He was a noted umpire in the All American Girls Professional Baseball league. He started his umpire career of 34 years umpiring in the women's league in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan at home games for the Fort Wayne Daises, South Bend Blue Sox, Rockford Peaches and the Kalamazoo Lassies. He was a colorful umpire who was well liked in the AAGPBL AND umpired in the league from 1948 until the league folded in 1954. He was also well known for umpiring High School and college events in Michigan and thru-out his native state of Ohio.
Over the course of his umpiring career, he umpired over 35,000 games at all levels of play and met many future Hall of Famers in their beginning years including Satchel Paige, Bob Feller, and Hank Aaron. Freon himself was inducted into the Northern Indian Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game of baseball.
Freon Betts passed away at the age of 95 on January 22, 2017, in his hometown of Bryan, Ohio.
Feroen J. Betts, age 95, of Bryan, Ohio, passed away at 9:40 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, at Elizabeth Scott Community Assisted Living in Maumee, Ohio, where he was a resident. Feroen was a 1941 graduate of Bryan High School, where he was an all-league football player. After high school he worked in the family business, Bryan Tankage Company, until his induction into the Army in 1942. He spent 42 months in the Army during World War II, mostly in Iran, providing supplies to the Russian Front in the European Theater and, in his last months of service, supplying Patton’s Army. He was discharged with the rank of staff sergeant and a Bronze Star.
He returned to Bryan and the family business and married his soul mate, Margaret A. Strasbaugh, on April 20, 1946. In 1948 Feroen started his professional baseball umpire career in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, umpiring primarily in Indiana and Michigan with teams like the Fort Wayne Daisies, the South Bend Blue Sox, the Rockford Peaches and the Kalamazoo Lassies, while also umpiring high school and college games. His umpire career also included the American Baseball Congress and the National Baseball Congress, where he umpired games with future stars Satchel Paige, Elston Howard, Bob Feller, Hank Aaron, Jim Bunning and local players Mel Held and Ned Garver. In his first game at that level, Feroen had the privilege of ejecting Billy Martin over a disputed call at first base. His career as an umpire lasted for 34 years, during which time he umpired three Ohio high school finals, two Indiana finals and one Michigan final and had the honor of umpiring the last game at Swayne Field in Toledo, Ohio, for a total of over 3,500 games at all levels for 34 years. He was inducted into the North Eastern Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame. He was a big hit on the service club speaking circuit in the Williams County area for both his veteran’s and baseball experiences.
Contributed By: Merrie Fidler
Copyright: Bryan, Ohio Times, Jan. 24, 2017