Hank Gowdy

From BR Bullpen


Harry Morgan Gowdy

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Catcher Hank Gowdy played seventeen years in the majors with the New York Giants and Boston Braves but was primarily a backup for most of his career, although he was the starting catcher on the "Miracle Braves" team that won the 1914 World Series. He was a hero in that World Series - he hit .545 in the four-game sweep of the Philadelphia Athletics and would likely have been named the Series' MVP had the award existed. However, he was a goat in the 1924 World Series, which the Giants lost to the Washington Senators. In the 12th inning of Game 7, Muddy Ruel hit what seemed a routine foul ball behind home plate. Gowdy tripped over his own mask and failed to catch the ball; given a reprieve, Ruel hit a double and went on to score the Series-winning run when Earl McNeely hit a ball that took a bad bounce off a pebble and escaped the grasp of 3B Fred Lindstrom.

He was the first MLB player to enlist in World War I. He saw considerable action in the second brigade of the Ohio National Guard, and was a member of the 166th infantry of the legendary 42nd or Rainbow Division. He was in action at Chateau Thierry, St. Mihiel, Champagne, Argonne and Lorraine in France. After the war, he returned to baseball for another decade, appearing in his final big league game when he was 41 years old.

Gowdy was a Braves coach from 1929 to 1937 and served on the Cincinnati Reds staff from 1938 to 1942. During World War II, he entered the U.S. Army with the rank of Captain on January 20, 1943, and then was promoted to the rank of Major in August of that year. He was placed on the inactive list in December 1944, and returned to the Reds as a coach in 1945 and 1946, also managing four games in the latter season. He was a member of the Giants coaching staff in 1947 and 1948 and a scout for the Cleveland Indians in 1950-1951 and the Giants in 1958.

In Game 3 of the 1914 World Series, Gowdy became the first player ever to hit a home run in extra innings in a World Series. It came in the 10th inning, off Joe Bush: Gowdy's Braves won in twelve innings. It would be 1933 before Mel Ott became the second player to do this.

Notable Achievement[edit]

Preceded by
Bill McKechnie
Cincinnati Reds Manager
Succeeded by
Johnny Neun

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1926 Columbus Senators American Association 10-40 none Replaced by George McQuillan
1946 Cincinnati Reds National League 3-1 6th Cincinnati Reds Replaced Bill McKechnie (64-86) on September 27
1950 Oklahoma City Indians Texas League 7-5 Cleveland Indians Interim for Joe Vosmik

Further Reading[edit]

  • Carol McMains and Frank Ceresi: "Hank Gowdy", in Bill Nowlin, ed.: The Miracle Braves of 1914: Boston's Original Worst-to-First World Series Champions, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2014, pp. 76-78. ISBN 978-1-933599-69-4

Related Sites[edit]