Prince Oana

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Henry Kawaihoa Oana
(Prince)

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Prince Oana played 23 years in organized ball, and briefly in the major leagues. The Society for American Baseball Research named him one of the all-time top minor league players. Oana played as an outfielder from 1929 to 1942, then moved to pitching. It was manager Rogers Hornsby who got him to focus on pitching in 1942, and that led to his second and third seasons in the big leagues.

Oana was born Henry Kawaihoa Oana in Waipahu, HI, and was a five-sport star at the private Saint Louis High School, then known as St. Louis College. He is listed with the middle name "Kauhane" in some reference material. His nickname "Prince" came about by a rumor that he was related to Hawaiian royalty. Oana's nickname in Hawaii was "Nutsky."

In his day, top players didn't always go to the major leagues. The minor league teams had their own owners who might or might not be willing to sell a star to a hungry major league team. Oana was a star for many years in the minors.

He reached the majors in 1934 as an outfielder, with the Philadelphia Phillies. In 21 at-bats, he hit .238. He would not come back to the majors until nine years had gone by.

He finally did see the majors again in wartime, when he was in his middle thirties. Appearing with the Detroit Tigers in 1943 and 1945, he pitched in 13 games, with a record of 3-2, mostly in relief. He had an ERA of 3.77. As a hitter, he hit .355 with the Tigers.

He wasn't done with baseball, though. He continued to play and manage minor league ball, ending up with Texarkana in 1951.

In the minors, Oana batted .304 with 2,292 hits, 261 homers and 1,368 RBI in 2,214 games. As a pitcher he had a record of 80-54, 3.24.

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