Ah, "Tractor Mechanic". That's got to be one of the best nicknames ever given to a player by his teammates. You just have to take one look at Chris Hoiles, and it all makes sense. It doesn't require a convoluted two-part explanation, like "Pronk".
The world may never know what Chris Hoiles was saying to the home plate umpire at this particular moment, in the middle of a road game in 1993. Perhaps he was complaining about the lousy coffee at the hotel. Maybe he was asking him if he thought weather-stripping was a wise investment. Possibly he's asking him if he saw the series finale of "Cheers" the previous week. It could be that he's telling the ump the sad story of how his breakout 1992 season was interrupted when that dirty no-good cheater Tim Leary hit him in the wrist.
"Sure", says the ump. "I never get tired of hearing that one." He rolls his eyes and puts his mask back on.
I drive through York, Pennsylvania a couple times a year on my way to and from my family's summer cottage, and once or twice more to visit a friend who lives in Lancaster. Some day, I'll make a pit stop for a York Revolution game. Maybe I'll get the skipper's autograph on this card, and ask him what he was saying to the umpire.
He'll crinkle his brow, much like he did in this photo. He'll look at me like I'm some kind of weirdo.
"Heck, I don't know", he'll drawl in his aw-shucks, Ohioan dialect.
It's just as well. Whatever the truth might be, it's probably not as interesting as what I'd imagine.