Umpire Stewart Receives Police Protection After Third Controversial Call

October 10, 1948

While no reports have been substantiated, Cleveland police and Major League Baseball have provided protection for World Series umpire Bill Stewart.

Stewart has made three controversial calls in the World Series – all going the favor of the Boston Braves. The first two calls have already been proven to incorrect by evidence from photographers. Film has yet to be produced to prove Stewart’s correctness on the third play.

Yesterday’s controversial call – the third of the three – came in the first inning when Lou Boudreau doubled down the right field line. The Tribe skipper circled second base and headed for third base. He slid into third base for what could have been a triple, but Stewart punched him out on the play. Third base coach Bill McKechnie immediately threw his hat into the ground and Boudreau argued to no avail for several minutes.

Before his most recent close call Indians fans booed him when he was introduced prior to the game. After Boudreau’s play at third base fans on the left field side of the stadium could be heard offering ridicule and catcalls in Stewart’s direction for the remainder of the afternoon.

In Game One of the series, Stewart called Phil Masi safe on a pickoff play at second base in the eighth inning of a tie game. Photographs after the game proved Indians starter Bob Feller threw in time to second base and Boudreau applied the tag before Masi got back to the bag. However, Stewart’s blown call left Masi on the bases and he scored the lone run of the game when Tommy Holmes singled him home.

In the first inning of Game Two Stewart called Braves’ shortstop Alvin Dark safe on a close play at first base. Many witnesses – including the Indians – felt Stewart made the call before the ball or Dark reached the base. The play helped lead to Boston’s only run of the game. Again, a photograph later proved Stewart was incorrect in his call.

Due to the magnitude of the Series the Commissioner’s Office feels Stewart needs additional protection as a precautionary move. Stewart is expected to umpire Game Five later today, back at second base.

Photo: Chicago Sun-Times

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