Ormsby was umpiring in the old Three-I League when a Western League umpire dropped a gun from his pocket as he ran across the diamond to call a play at third. The ump was fired, and Ormsby was promoted to the Western League. A WWI veteran, Ormsby suffered from the effects of a wartime gas attack. According to veteran catcher Birdie Tebbetts, on some days Red would feel light-headed behind the plate. AL catchers knew of his problem, and on such occasions would help him call balls and strikes.