Dewey Hudman

Dewey Hudman has been umpiring Little League games on the Treasure Coast since 1975. Outside of his day job as an engineer, he has donated thousands of hours of his time in various capacities. GREG GARDNER


For 42 years Dewey Hudman has been the steady voice of reason behind home plate as umpire for more than 1,700 Little League games in Port St. Lucie.

It is an amazing legacy since Hudman never played baseball growing up on an Alabama farm or in any game after that. When he married his wife, Lil, in 1976, she had two sons, 5 and 7, from a previous marriage. He would raise them as his own along with a son the couple had together.

Hudman first became involved in baseball when he and a neighbor, who also had two sons, went to sign the boys up for minor Little League. When asked, the two fathers agreed to help coach their sons teams.

“I had never played a baseball game in my life, but I studied the rule book and I would get coaching tips from any source I could,” he said. His best tip for T-ball coaches is to help kids learn how to make a level swing.

Only coaching for three years, Hudman by then had been bitten by the umpiring bug. Coaches are asked to umpire a game either before or after their team has played and that is how he got his start behind the plate.

“I got into coaching and umpiring at the same time,” he said.

Even though his children have been out of the house for years, Hudman still donates hundreds of hours a year as the administrator for District 17, overseeing 13 Little Leagues with 2,400 players from Sebastian to Hobe Sound. He also is the treasurer for the Florida District Administrators Association.

“My husband eats, drinks and sleeps Little League,” Lil said.

Having worked behind the plate for all levels of Little League, including girls softball, Hudman is happy to pass down knowledge to the new umpires who receive training from the 79-year-old organization.

“Umpiring has taught me the best customer-service skills I could ever get and I have had a lot of training with different companies,” he said. “You develop listening skills. When people are yelling at you, you try and get their point of view. Umpiring requires common sense.”

One of the most difficult challenges of umpiring can be dealing with coaches, according to Hudman.

“You have to know how to handle their comments and not take it personal,” he said. “Kids follow their coach’s example. If he yells, they yell. If he is quiet, they will be quiet. I haven’t thrown that many people out. Sometimes the coaches can help by talking to the yeller. Your attitude should be to keep them in the game. When you eject someone, they have to leave the ballpark and the game is stopped until that happens.”

Little League has bona fide umpires, but fans are often asked to work as umpires at first and third base, Hudman said. The ideal umpire does his job quietly without showboating instead of the guy who thinks he is the game when it is really a game for the kids, he said.

From Little League president, board member to almost every district administrative position, Hudman has worked for youth baseball in Port St. Lucie almost from its beginning and long after his sons grew up, left home and started families. Two of his sons went on to coach and umpire.

“I have cooked for the concessions and whatever you want me to do, I will do it,” he said.

“I do it because I like it, not for the recognition,” Hudman said. “It is fun when you go to the park and people say, ‘You used to umpire my games.’ And then you see their kids are now playing baseball.”

Although he has been to the World Series only once in Detroit at the end of 1990, Hudman and his wife have traveled 20 times to Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series.

“We love to go and watch the kids,” he said.

“Dewey is very respected throughout the country and very well-known,” said Jeffrey Miller, District 17 umpire-in-chief for the past three years. “We were at a conference in New Orleans and somebody said, ‘Hey, there’s Dewey.’ ”

And in 2004, the state Senate awarded Hudman a Medallion of Excellence for his contributions to the children of Florida.

Miller was mentored by Hudman to the point where he now handles protests.

“Knowing the rules as he does, Dewey helps us train and teach umpires when we have clinics,” said Miller, whose first district position was umpire-in-chief for Martin County North. “He goes out of his way and out of his own schedule to be there for the league. We were short a man for a girls (age) 9-10 softball tournament and he jumped right in. And those games can take forever. He has a standing joke, ‘Let’s get this moving. I have an appointment with my pillow.’ Dewey is the glue that holds everything together,” Miller said.


Age: 69
Lives in: Port St. Lucie
Occupation: Utilities project administrator
Family: Wife, Lil; three sons, Gary, 49; David, 46; Denny, 37; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren
Education: Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, Auburn University; Master in Business Administration, Florida Institute of Technology
Hobbies: Umpiring Little League and softball games
What inspires me: “I like working with people and the comradery with Little League families.”
Something most people don’t know about me: “I enjoy cooking and I cook all of the holiday meals for my family.”