Bill Stewart (sports official)

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William Joseph Stewart (September 20, 1894 – February 14, 1964) was an American coach and sports official who was an ice hockey referee and coach, and also an umpire in Major League Baseball. In his first season as head coach of the Chicago Black Hawks, he led the team to a Stanley Cup championship in 1938, becoming the first U.S.-born coach to win.

Player, coach, umpire, referee and scout[edit]

Born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Stewart grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, and competed in baseball, hockey, track, and wrestling in high school. In 1913 he became a minor league baseball player with Worcester in the New England League, and in 1917 while with Montreal was the first International League player to enlist for World War I service, joining the Navy. After the war he was signed by the Chicago White Sox, but he suffered an arm injury falling down a flight of stairs while working as a census taker in Boston, and was unable to remain with the team in 1919. H e stayed in the minor leagues as a pitcher and manager (including in Nashua, New Hampshire in 1927) until 1930, when he became an umpire in the Eastern League, and later officiated in the International and New York–Pennsylvania Leagues.[1]

During baseball offseasons in the 1910s and 1920s, Stewart generally coached Boston-area college and high school hockey teams[1] and was a scout for the Boston Red Sox (1926–27). In 1928 he became the NHL's first U.S.-born referee, and served in that capacity until 1941 excepting his two years (1937–39) as Chicago's coach. He coached the U.S. national hockey team in 1957, posting a 23-3-1 record, but the team was barred by the State Department from participating in the World Championships following the Soviet invasion of Hungary.

Stewart was an umpire in the National League from 1933 to 1954, and officiated in four World Series (1937, 1943, 1948, 1953) and four All-Star Games (1936, 1940, 1948, 1954), calling balls and strikes for the last contest. He also was the home plate umpire for Johnny Vander Meer's second consecutive no-hitter in 1938, and was the crew chief for the 1951 three-game pennant playoff between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Stewart worked 714 consecutive games from the time he entered the NL until September 1938, when he was stricken with appendicitis. He resigned from the NL umpiring staff in January 1955 after not being promoted to league supervisor, a position he claimed had been promised him by commissioner Ford Frick when he had been NL president; new league president Warren Giles instead announced that the position would not be filled. After retiring as an umpire, he continued to work as a scout for the Cleveland Indians and Washington Senators.[1]

Stewart died at age 69 at the Veterans Administration Hospital near his home in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston after suffering a stroke two weeks earlier. He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982. His grandson Paul also became an NHL player and referee.

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Division rank Result
CHI 1937–38 48 14 25 9 37 3rd in American Won Stanley Cup
CHI 1938–39 21 8 10 3 19 7th in NHL Fired
Total 69 22 35 12 56

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Stewart, Ex-N.L. Arbiter and Hockey Ref, Dead at 68". The Sporting News. 1964-02-29. p. 36. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Clem Loughlin
Head coach of the Chicago Black Hawks
Succeeded by
Paul Thompson