Granillo: Bill Stewart, MLB umpire and NHL referee

From SABR member Larry Granillo at Baseball Prospectus on June 24, 2013:

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are going on right now in the National Hockey League. Over the last couple of nights, four different Game 7’s have been played, with two going to overtime. It’s only the first round, sure, but that means absolutely nothing to the games’ intensity. As much as I love baseball, there really is no sport that does overtime/extra-innings/etc. better than hockey.

Anyhow, watching some absolutely fantastic hockey the other night, I was inspired to do a little research about the overlap between the two sports. It didn’t take me long to find something fascinating. In 1955, Bill Stewart retired as the senior-most umpire in the National League, having officiated in four World Series and four All-Star Games in his 22 years of service. That wasn’t Stewart’s only career, though. From 1928 through 1941, Stewart was also a referee in the NHL, doing his baseball work in the summer and his hockey work in the winter. In 1937, Stewart left his refereeing duties and took over as coach of the Chicago Black Hawks, leading the underdog team to victory in the Stanley Cup Finals.

That’s right: in six month’s time, Bill Stewart went from umpiring the World Series in October 1937 to winning the Stanley Cup as the coach of the Black Hawks in April 1938. He was the first American-born coach to win the Stanley Cup in its history.

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Originally published: June 24, 2013. Last Updated: June 24, 2013.