Former woman umpire sues baseball

December 20, 1991|By Knight-Ridder

A former minor-league umpire sued organized baseball yesterday, contending that the men who run the game condoned and encouraged an atmosphere of extreme sexual harassment in which she was repeatedly spit on and cursed, sometimes kissed, and finally fired because she was a woman.

Pam Postema, 37, who worked for 13 years as a minor-league umpire before she was released after the 1989 season, filed a sex-discrimination suit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeking unspecified compensation for back and future earnings, punitive damages and a job umpiring in the major leagues.

Postema charged that the baseball establishment not only knew of sexual harassment by fans, players and managers, but encouraged the harassment as a way to keep her from becoming a big-league umpire.

"I really believe that if it wasn't for the fact that I was a woman, I'd be in the major leagues umpiring right now," Postema said yesterday from San Clemente, Calif., where she delivers packages for Federal Express.

"I have the ability," she said. "I really think they don't want women in the big leagues. I think they think it would make the game inferior. I think men want their own little sport, their own little world. It's collusion -- not said out loud, but sometimes said out loud."

Postema was the fourth woman to umpire in professional baseball and the first to advance as high as Triple A, one step below the majors.

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