It also was in a
hotel that McGowan had one of the most soul-shattering experiences of his
career. It happened when he was a young and green umpire. He'd noticed how well
dressed his fellow-arbiters were and asked for an explanation. After all,
umpirical salaries were stringently modest in those days.
easy," one of them said. "We lead lonely lives, apart from the
ballplayers. But we're constantly coming in contact with traveling salesmen. So
just butter up to a few of them, entertain them a bit and you'll be able to get
shirts, suits, shoes and everything you need for wholesale prices. Sometimes
they'll even give you samples for free."
McGowan cased the
lobby and picked on a likely prospect. He struck up a conversation with him,
learned that he was a salesman and buttered him up. The stranger couldn't pick
up a tab. McGowan wined and dined him, carefully avoiding even a hint of the
nefarious purpose behind his hospitality.
"It's been a
wonderful evening, Bill," said the stranger as they parted.
way," said Bill, "you never did mention what firm you're traveling for.
Which one is it?"
Locomotive Company," said the stranger.
suspensions deserve mention. The first was the outcome of an incident at home
plate in a game between the Senators and Indians in Washington. Joe Paparella
ruled that Eddie Stewart was out at home with the winning run and the
Washington players came storming out of the dugout in violent protest.
NEW MAN ON
speaking, the call was none of McGowan's business. But Paparella was a new man
on the job and Bill rushed to his rescue. But in taking the heat off his fellow
worker, he set himself ablaze. Words were spoken that should never have been
spoken. So McGowan was suspended to cool off. But that was why he got even more
than the normal satisfaction out of being named umpire-in-chief a few months
later in the play-off game. It was a vindication of sorts.
suspension resulted primarily from a run-in with players and then erupted in
the wrong direction, toward the press box. It was a Tiger-Brown game in St.
Louis and McGowan thought the Tigers were unnecessarily rough in their riding
of Satchel Paige. He furiously ordered them to stop and cleared off part of the
Detroit bench. The baseball writers asked for details of the still-seething