FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2018
Retired NL umpire Dutch Rennert remembered by his Historic Dodgertown friends
The O’Malley family and longtime Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach employees express their sadness on the passing of Laurence “Dutch” Rennert, a former National League umpire for 20 seasons and an “off-season” Vero Beach resident, last Sunday. He and his wife, Shirley, had just recently celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary. From 1962 on, Rennert worked countless minor league game and Spring Training games at Dodgertown as he worked his way up the umpiring ladder.
“Our family always appreciated Dutch’s work ethic, dedication and professionalism,” said Peter O’Malley, President, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1970-1998. “I became aware of Dutch in the early 1960’s when he would work games at Dodgertown and I was the camp director. He had a terrific personality and a passion for his craft. You just knew that he was going to make it to the major leagues one day. Our thoughts are with Shirley and the entire Rennert family.”
He was the home plate umpire in Game 4 of the 1988 National League Championship Series when the Dodgers defeated the New York Mets, 5-4 in 12 innings. That game tied the Series at two apiece when Mike Scioscia hit a tying two-run home run in the ninth inning, Kirk Gibson hit a game-winning home run in the 12th for the deciding run and Orel Hershiser got the save in a game when the final out was made near 12:30 in the morning.
Rennert also was the third base umpire in the Dodgers’ 22-inning loss to the Houston Astros on June 3, 1989. Neither team scored from the 7th inning until the 22nd inning when the Astros scored a run off third baseman Jeff Hamilton who went to the mound in the 21st inning. This was after Orel Hershiser, on two days’ rest, pitched seven scoreless relief innings to keep the team in the game. The winning run scored at 2:50 a.m. Sunday morning after a Saturday evening start.
Rennert served an umpire apprenticeship in the Pioneer League, the Southern League, the Texas League, and the Pacific Coast League before he umpired his first major league game in September, 1973. He was well regarded as an arbiter as a 1983 New York Times poll as the best umpire in the National League in a poll conducted of National League players. He was known through the industry for a “no doubt about it” strike call when he would openly gesture to the side and give a full lunge to his knee to make the call.
He worked three MLB World Series – in 1980, 1982 and 1989, six National League Championship Series and two All-Star Games in his career.
He graduated from Oshkosh High School in Oshkosh, Wisconsin where one classmate, Billy Hoeft, played in the major leagues, and another, Don Beibel, worked in the front office for the Chicago Cubs.
Rennert’s off-season home was in Vero Beach, Florida, and he continued to work his craft after retiring as a National League umpire, by calling games at the Adult Camps in Dodgertown where he was a favorite after-dinner speaker to the campers.
Caption: Former National League umpire Dutch Rennert, far right, passed away last Sunday. Rennert umpired minor league games at Dodgertown, Vero Beach, FL, starting in the early 1960’s and later Dodger spring training games in the 1970’s-1990’s. He is shown on St. Patrick’s Day, 1989, with (L-R) fellow umpires Terry Tata and Bruce Froemming alongside Peter O’Malley, President, Los Angeles Dodgers.
About Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida
“A Florida Heritage Landmark”
World-famous Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida is a multi-sport, 80-acre complex on Florida’s Treasure Coast managed by former Dodger owner Peter O’Malley in a partnership since 2012. O’Malley, whose family developed and expanded the site formerly known as “Dodgertown” for nearly 50 years, partnered with his sister Terry O’Malley Seidler and former Dodger star pitchers Chan Ho Park and Hideo Nomo.
On November 10, 2014, Historic Dodgertown was named a Florida Heritage Landmark for its unique historic significance extending beyond baseball, as the first completely integrated Spring Training site in the South. The “Baseball and Dodgertown” historical marker is located at the entrance to the conference center.
The home of Dodger Spring Trainings from 1948-2008, it was the starting place for six World Championships and 14 N.L. Pennant-winning teams. Numerous Baseball Hall of Fame players trained on these hallowed grounds, as well as 20 visits from professional teams in Asia.
The all-inclusive facility, owned by Indian River County, gives teams of all ages the unique opportunity to train, play, dine and stay together in on-site villas. Participants utilize one of 10 ½ playing fields (seven are Musco-lighted for night games), including a new cloverleaf of youth baseball/softball fields with concessions area and new multi-purpose field (110 by 130 yards) for football, soccer and lacrosse.
Other amenities include clubhouses, two full-sized weight rooms, dining room, Stadium Club lounge and a competition-size swimming pool. The home of 6,500-seat Holman Stadium, Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida provides an all-encompassing experience for guests and is the ideal setting to build a championship team. It’s the perfect location for tournaments, camps, schools, business conferences and seminars.
Continuing its tradition since 1983, the Los Angeles Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp returned to Historic Dodgertown in November, 2014. Visit historicdodgertown.com for more information.
Ruth Ruiz, Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida, (772) 257-8532