In 1961, the Sporting News polled managers, players etc. to determine the best umpires of its time. Barlick was voted best caller of balls and strikes, best on the bases, best knowledge of the rules, best at being at the right position and most serious minded. Barlick scoffed at this as he did not like the fact that players and managers were making this decision, even though it was shown that he had gotten the best endorsement. It made more sense since when he received the Umpire of the Year Award in 1971, which was voted on by his peers. He felt the award was more worthy of receiving because it was not biased based on whether a player or manager "liked him" because of a favorable call.
When it comes to the best umpires in the history of the game, names like Bill Klem, Tom Connelly, Jocko Conlan, Doug Harvey and Harry Wendelstedt come up. It was Klem, who Barlick filled in for in 1940 which started his umpiring career. Barlick would appear in 7 All Star Games, in 1942, 1949, 1952, 1955, 1959, 1966 and 1970. He was the 1st base umpire for Jackie Robinson's MLB debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. He would umpire in 7 World Series, in 1946, 1950, 1951, 1954, 1958, 1962 and 1967. After opening the game as the home plate umpire of the 1949 All Star Game, he suddenly left the game after it was time for the umpires to rotate (this was customary during All Star Games at that time), and no reason was ever given for him leaving.
Barlick was involved in a couple odd events. During the 1963 season, umpires were told to crack down on balk calls on pitchers. He threatened to quit after a dispute over a balk call led to him ejecting a pitcher. He would leave his crew for a couple of days before rejoining them. He got a new job after the 1963 season, giving the possibility he would not return to umpiring. However, he would be back for the 1964 season.
Al Barlick umpired the last game at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh and the first game of Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, both in 1970 as well as the first game at the Astrodome in 1965. He was also the crew chief of the first ever NL Championship Series in 1969 between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves.
Though he was well known throughout the game, especially because of his longevity, he never got the all time recognition he deserved. Yes, the Veterans Committee nominated him for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989, but certainly he was never spoken about in the same sentences as Klem and others. Based on his lengthy career and his reputation, it is fair to say that Al Barlick was as good of an umpire as their ever was.