Nestor Chylak

Nestor Chylak

National Baseball Hall of Fame, the copyright owner, at

Nestor Chylak Jr. (sometimes listed as Nester)

  • Bats Unknown, Throws Unknown
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 190 lb.
  • School University of Scranton, Rutgers University
  • Born May 11, 1922 in Peckville, PA USA
  • Died February 17, 1982 in Dunmore, PA USA

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1999

Biographical Information

"Nestor is one of the ultra, ultra good umpires. And the players respond to him. He's a good hustler. He always seems to be at the right place at the right time." — Johnny Pesky

Neston Chylak was a longtime American League umpire. He began his minor league career in the PONY League in 1947-1948. He moved up to the Canadian-American League in 1949, the Eastern League in 1950-1951, and the International League 1952-1953. His big league career began in 1954 and he remained in blue through the 1978 season. After that, he served as an assistant supervisor of umpires until his death of a heart attack at age 59.

He was born in Olyphant, Pennsylvania of Ukrainian descent, and attended the University of Scranton, where he studied engineering. During World War II, he served in the Army in Europe; in the Battle of the Bulge he was wounded by shrapnel from an exploding shell and was hospitalized for eight weeks with an injury that nearly cost him his sight. He earned both the Silver Star and Purple Heart during his service. After the war's end, he began umpiring amateur baseball in 1946, and returned briefly to college. He first worked in the minor leagues in 1947, reaching the American League seven years later.

He umpired in three ALCS, including the first one played (1969, 1972, 1973), serving as crew chief in 1969 and 1973, and in five World Series (1957, 1960, 1966, 1971, 1977), serving as the crew chief in 1971 (in which he called balls and strikes in the decisive Game 7) and 1977. He also worked in six All-Star Games: 1957, 1960 (both games), 1964, 1973 and 1978, calling balls and strikes in the second 1960 game and in 1973. After retiring from the field in 1978, he became an assistant league supervisor of umpires. Among his noteworthy games were Sandy Koufax's final game in the 1966 Series; "Ten Cent Beer Night"  in Cleveland in 1974, where it was necessary for him to declare a forfeit due to constant fighting which spread onto the field and which saw Chylak hit over the head with a chair; and the first major league game ever played in Toronto in 1977, during a snowstorm at Exhibition Stadium, for which he was the home plate umpire.

As an assistant league supervisor, Chylak was in the umpire's dressing room at Comiskey Park on Disco Demolition Night, a July 12, 1979, doubleheader between the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox. In between games of the doubleheader, when unruly fans began to blow up disco records onto the field and rioted, Chylak told White Sox owner Bill Veeck that under no circumstances would the second game of the doubleheader be played. Veeck protested furiously, but Chylak's decision was upheld by American League president Lee MacPhail. The next day, MacPhail ordered the second game of the twinbill be forfeited to Detroit.

Following his retirement, he became a member of the Sports Illustrated Speakers' Bureau and addressed a wide variety of groups, "talking about the intangible lessons he learned during his years in baseball". Chylak died of a heart attack at age 59 in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, and is survived by his wife Sue, his sons Robert and William, and seven grandchildren. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1999.


1999 Hall of Fame, Nestor Chylak, Umpire


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