In 1933 McGowan was one of that “great clan of probity,” in the words of Yale professor Billy Phelps, who were given the honor of working the first All-Star Game. In a 16-plus year period, McGowan reportedly worked 2,541 consecutive games. An AL umpire for 30 years, he never shrank from making the tough calls. One of his decisions cost Lou Gehrig sole possession of the 1931 home run title. That April 26, Gehrig hit the ball into the centerfield bleachers in Washington, but the ball popped back out of the stands and into the outfielder’s hands, confusing baserunner Lyn Lary, who slowed down. Gehrig kept running and accidentally passed Lary on the basepaths, and McGowan called Gehrig out to end the inning. At the season’s end, Gehrig’s total of 46 home runs left him tied for the league lead with teammate Babe Ruth.