BILL M'GOWAN, 58,
UMPIRE 41 YEARS
Dean of American League Arbiters Dies in Maryland — In Majors 3 Decades
SILVER SPRINGS, Md., Dec. 9 (UP) — Bill McGowan, who retired recently after having served as an American League umpire for thirty years, died here today at his home. He had suffered two heart attacks in less than a week. He was 58 years old.
Surviving are his widow, Magdalein; a son, William A., Jr.; a foster son, Airman 2/C William A.; a brother John, and two sisters, Mrs. Jane Weaver and Mrs. Dan Buckley.
Started Career at 17
William Aloysius McGowan was an official in baseball for forty-one years. He made his debut in 1913 at the age of 17, when he joined the Tri-State League. He was appointed to the majors in 1925 and his ability to "call 'em right" was quickly recognized. He was accepted as the No. 1 umpire in the circuit. His nickname, in fact, was "No. 1." He officiated in eight world series and five All-Star games.
Mr. McGowan conducted an umpire school in Florida for years. Many young umpires now in organized baseball were tutored by him. He was a stickler for hustling and physical fitness.
Although Mr. McGowan believed an umpire should always have "tact in dealing with difficult siutations," he, himself, was not immune to suspensions. Twice during his major-league career he was suspended by the president of the American League.
Until 1942, when plagued with arthritis, he did not miss working in a game to which he had been assigned. By working in some 2,600 consecutive contests, he was stamped as the "Iron Man" of the umpires.
However, in 1948, Mr. McGowan was suspended for ten days without salary. He was charged with having thrown baseball and his ball-strike indicator at Washington players and also with having used offensive language.
In 1952, he ejected a player from a game at St. Louis. The press asked the umpire to identify the banised man. He refused and a protest was made to Will Harridge, president of the American League. Mr. Harridge suspended Mr. McGowan for his action.
But the events soon were forgotten and at no time was his ability or honesty questioned. Only last week, when Mr. McGowan's request for retirement was granted, and a life pension voted to him, baseball men here for the major-league winter meetings, were referring to him as "the best."