Hall of Fame umpire Bill McGowan controlled the field of play as much with his personality as with the rulebook; his respected 30-year career, including 2,532 consecutive games, was among the longest in baseball history. McGowan was the home plate umpire in the first-ever American League pennant playoff game, Cleveland versus Boston in 1948. Famous for his sense of humor, great dramatics, and wild gestures, he was known to turn a strike into a ball if he thought a player deserved a break, or to eject half a team if they annoyed him. He promoted such players as Goose Goslin, Moe Berg, Stanley "Bucky" Harris, and Jimmy Dykes; wrote articles and newspaper columns; and founded a school for umpires in College Park, Maryland, which continues today as the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School.
This richly illustrated biography gives an intimate view of this talented umpire, from his birth in 1896 and long marriage to his death from diabetes in 1954. With research including interviews with former players as well as family members, the work provides a wealth of anecdotes and insights into his profession. The textbook McGowan wrote for his students is included as an appendix.