Card: 1988 MLB Umpire’s Association #60
Boston, MA-born Richard Jack Stello (July 20, 1934 – November 18, 1987) was an American professional baseball umpire. He worked in the National League from 1968 to his death in 1987. He wore uniform number 18 for most of his career.
A loner who had difficulty making long-term connections with other people, he initially gravitated toward a career in show business, working as a nightclub comic in the 1950s before strapping on the chest protector after being introduced to umpiring in the military.
One of the last men in blue to wear a jacket-and-tie to the ballpark every day, Dick survived a Dickensian upbringing to become one of the most popular National League umpires of the 1960s and 70s. He lived in an orphanage until he was 12 years old, then was dispatched to the care of foster parents, a kindly French couple who lived on a farm in rural Massachusetts.
In 1974, he married Liliana Wilczkowska, a Polish stripper better known by her stage name "Chesty Morgan". Liliana (aka Lilian Stello) grew up near Warsaw, Poland, where she was orphaned when her Jewish parents were killed by the Nazis after the Invasion of Poland. Sent to Israel, she lived in a series of orphanages before ending up in a kibbutz. The marriage lasted from 1974 to 1979. After the split, they stayed in touch until his death.
He umpired 2,764 major league games in his 20-year career. He umpired in two World Series (1975 and 1981), two All-Star Games (1977 and 1987) and five National League Championship Series (1971, 1976, 1979, 1983, and 1985). Stello was an instructor at the Al Somers Umpire School.
On November 18, 1987, Stello was stopped on the side of a two-lane highway and standing between his car and another car. A third car struck the parked cars from behind and Stello was crushed between them. He died instantly.
Dick is featured prominently in "The Best Seat in Baseball, But You Have to Stand!: The Game as Umpires See It" by Lee Gutkind
Dick is part of the Umpires Tour – Go to the Next Stop
See all Dick’s baseball cards at TCDB
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