March 11, 2021

Nestor Chylak’s early trials as an umpire


Dear Editor:

I enjoyed reading Ihor Selmach’s sports update on baseball umpire Nestor Chylak in the Weekly’s January 31 issue.

My father grew up with Nestor in Oly­phant/Jessup, Pa., and both families attended the St. Cyril’s church in Olyphant, Pa.

One story that is related about Nestor is that early in his career he would umpire baseball games of the local social clubs. The predominant social clubs were Polish, Italian and Ukrainian. One day, in the field across from my grandparent’s home in Jessup, Pa., the Italians were playing the Poles with Nestor umpiring. By the end of the first inning, there had already been several bench clearing brawls that even the spectators had gotten involved in. One of the old Ukrainians of my grandparents’ era (immigrated to the U.S. in the first decade of the 20th century), who really knew nothing about baseball but understood fair play, walked home, came back with his loaded double-barrel shotgun and sat next to one of the benches and announced in several languages that there would be no more fighting!

I do not know the final score, but no fatalities were recorded.

Thanks for the stories about famous Ukrainian-Americans in sports.

Amherst, Mass.