Profiles of Valor
Technical Sergeant Nestor Chylak, born on May 11, 1922, had an impressive career in The United States Army and asan umpire in Major League Baseball.
Chylak enlisted in the Army in 1942 and fought in World War II. During the notorious Battle of the Bulge on January 3, 1945, he was struck by shrapnel which put him in the hospital for eight weeks with his eyes covered by bandages. There was worries that he would completely lose his eyesight. Following his full recovery, he made his way back to the front line where he earned the Silver Star Award for yet another wound. He eventually was awarded the Purple Heart for his selfless actions throughout his military career.
Upon being discharged in 1946, Chylak attended the University of Scranton and was offered the chance to umpire a college game, in which he swiftly declined before finding out it paid $25 which was enough to change his mind. This decision ultimately began a four-decade career as an umpire. In 1947 his minor league career began in the Class D Pony League. He moved up to the Canadian American League in 1949, the Eastern League in 1950, and the International League in 1952. He was thirty years old when he had his debut in the Major Leagues in 1954. He umpired six All-Star games, three League Championship series, and five World Series.
He retired after the 1957 season, becoming the American League’s assistant supervisor of umpires. To round offhis career, Chylak was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
Known for his exceptional skills as an umpire, Chylak had also found himself in the history book with multiple quotes, one of which can be found in the mindset of umpires in present day : “The way I see it, an umpire must be perfect on the first day of the season and then get better every day.”
Chylak left an impactful legacy on and off the diamond, modeling what it means to be a courageous soldier.