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Dickie Bird
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Athlete
    (April 19, 1933- )
    Born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
    Birth name was Harold Dennis Bird
    Cricketer and cricket umpire
    Played county cricket with Yorkshire (1956-59) and Leicestershire (1959-64)
    Umpired 66 Test matches and 69 One Day Internationals, including 3 World Cups
    Named President of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club (2014)
    Named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to cricket and charity (2012)
    He failed his eleven-plus exam and dropped out of school at 15.
    He had such a pathological fear of being late that he would show up at the stadium as much as six hours before the match started.
    He complained about cricket's growing reliance on technology, such as instant replay, 'The umpires have become coat hangers.'
    He gave his autobiography the uninspired title 'My Autobiography.'
    A statue of him in his hometown had to be raised onto a five-foot base to discourage drunken revelers from hanging bras, condoms and other items off of the statue's upraised finger.
    He was in the unusual position of being an umpire who was as popular with the public as the athletes.
    He earned the respect of the players, noting 'I can honestly tell you, I had not one problem with any professional cricketer.'
    He was accessible to fans: 'I always said when I got on to the first-class umpires list that I was going to smile and sign every autograph for every kid, even after I'd had a tiring day of seven hours on the field.'
    His autobiography became the best-selling sports book in Britain.

Credit: C. Fishel


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