This article was written by Gregory H. Wolf
Right-hander Schoolboy Rowe endured chronic, career-threatening shoulder pain to win 158 games in his big-league career from 1933 to1949. In his second season, he won 24 games, including an AL-record-tying 16 consecutive victories to help lead the Detroit Tigers to their first pennant since 1909. The next season, 1935, he won 19 games as the Tigers captured their elusive world championship, while Rowe further cemented his reputation as one of the most popular players of his era. A 19-game winner again in 1936, Rowe won only one game over the next two seasons, his career derailed by shoulder miseries. The three-time All-Star made an unexpected comeback to help lead the Tigers to a surprising pennant in 1940. He was sold to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1942 and optioned to the minors later that season, but the Lazarus of baseball returned from the dead again, in 1943, as a member of the lowly Philadelphia Phillies for whom he won 52 games in his last five seasons.
Lynwood Thomas Rowe was born on January 11, 1910, in Waco, Texas, the second of three children born to Thomas Moss and Ruby Ann (Hardin) Rowe. By the early 1920s the family had settled in El Dorado, Arkansas, close to the border of Louisiana in the southern part of the state, where his father found a job in the booming oil industry. Tall, strong, and agile, Lynwood was a natural athlete whose accomplishments as a teenager had a Paul Bunyanesque ring when, after his meteoric rise to the big leagues, they were reported to fans looking for good news during the harsh times of the Great Depression. Syndicated sportswriter Charles P. Ward once wrote that “Schoolboy’s life [has been] written and rewritten” so many times that it was difficult to sort out the fact from fiction.[fn]Charles P. Ward, “Ward to the Wise.” Unattributed clipping. May 5, 1942, Rowe’s Hall of Fame file.[/fn] Described by sportswriter Frank Reil as a “one man All-American athletic team” at El Dorado High School, Rowe was a track and field champion who excelled in distance running and throwing the javelin, shot put, and discus.[fn]Frank Reil, “Rowe, New Pitching Sensation of Tigers Too Good for Baseball,” Brooklyn Eagle, May 2, 1933. Rowe’s Hall of Fame file.[/fn] He played on the golf and tennis teams, and starred in basketball and football. He was also an accomplished amateur boxer, and an avid hunter and fisherman. Upon graduation as a 21-year-old in 1931, he was a highly recruited football player.
Lynwood’s passion, however, was baseball, and his childhood accomplishments on the diamond seemed larger than life. By the time the towering right-hander finished Hugh Goodwin Grammar School, he was a slugging and pitching legend on the sandlots of El Dorado. According to one report, he acquired the sobriquet Schoolboy from local sportswriter John Erp when he was a 14-year-old pitching in an adult church league.[fn]Charles E. Parker, “The Life Story of Schoolboy Rowe,” New York World-Telegram, September 2, 1934. Rowe’s Hall of Fame file.[/fn] According to other reports, the name originated from opponents and fans who yelled, “Don’t let that schoolboy beat you.”[fn]James C. Isaminger, “Rowe, Killed by Kindness and Hindered By Handshakers, Missed A.L. Hill Record, “The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 2, 1934, 1.[/fn] Yet another account claimed that the moniker derived from the youngster’s job hawking newspapers on street corners.[fn]Will Wedge, “The Story of a Schoolboy,” New York Sun. 1933, no date. Rowe’s Hall of Fame file.[/fn]
No story about Rowe during his big-league career was complete without a reference to his unusual signing in 1926 by the Detroit Tigers’ prolific scout Eddie Goosetree in an El Dorado firehouse for a $250 bonus, and the lanky hurler’s ensuing insouciance. The teenage Rowe refused to report to the Fort Smith (Arkansas) Twins in the Class C Western Association in 1927, and was ultimately suspended by Organized Baseball.[fn]Henry P. Edwards, “Rowe Won 24 Games for Tigers in 1934,” Spartanburg (South Carolina) Herald, January 25, 1935, 1.[/fn] Hiding his professional status, Rowe remained in high school and played baseball in local leagues in 1927 and 1928 (his high school did not field a team). While Rowe pitched in semipro leagues in Louisville (1929), Wichita (1930), and Bastrop, Louisiana (1931), he refused the Tigers’ assignments to the minor leagues (Little Rock in 1929 and Evansville in 1931), and thus remained suspended.[fn]Will Wedge, “The Story of a Schoolboy.”[/fn]
Rowe began his professional baseball career in 1932 when his contract was sold to the Class A Beaumont (Texas) Exporters. Described as “one of the sensations of the Texas League,” Rowe won 19 games and led the circuit with a 2.30 ERA, helping the Exporters win the league championship.[fn]The Sporting News, November 3, 1932, 8.[/fn] As successful as he was on the mound, he was just as dangerous at the plate, clouting ten home runs in 112 at-bats and slugging .625. According to The Sporting News, Exporters manager Del Baker “persuaded him to stick with pitching” instead of moving to the outfield.[fn]The Sporting News, January 5, 1933, 5.[/fn]
In his much anticipated major-league debut on April 15, 1933, at Navin Field, Rowe tossed a six-hit shutout to defeat the Chicago White Sox, and the legend of the “Schoolboy” was born. After just his fourth start, he suffered a “sore arm” that sidelined him for two weeks and foretold a career plagued by chronic elbow and shoulder pain.[fn]The Sporting News, May 18, 1933, 3.[/fn] In his first start in four weeks, he hurled the first of five consecutive complete-game victories, defeating the Philadelphia Athletics, 10-1, on May 26 at Shibe Park. “[Rowe] throws the ball past the batter,” said the A’s Mickey Cochrane. “[H]e has a loose motion and hides the ball from the sight of the batter with his delivery. The ball sneaks up on the batter.”[fn]“Rowe No Second Grove,” unattributed article, August 17, 1934. Rowe’s Hall of Fame file.[/fn] In a pitchers’ duel with Lefty Grove on July 15, Rowe fielded a bunted ball by Cochrane and twisted his shoulder viciously on the throw to first base. The injury, diagnosed in the offseason as a “torn muscle,” was exacerbated when the right-hander took the mound twice more before he was shut down for the season on July 23.[fn]The Sporting News, August 24, 1933, 3.[/fn]
Rowe’s career year in 1934 began with uncertainty stemming from persistent pain in his shoulder. Despite wearing a shoulder brace for six weeks in the offseason, Rowe had difficulty extending his right arm; consequently, he pitched sparingly in spring training. New Tigers skipper Mickey Cochrane did not take kindly to Rowe’s complaining. He suggested that the pitcher needed a change in his “mental attitude” and threatened to send him back to Beaumont.[fn]The Sporting News, March 22, 1934, 1.[/fn] Papers insinuated that Rowe’s injury was imaginary, describing it as a “sore arm complex.”[fn]The Sporting News, July 26, 1934, 1.[/fn] In poor pitching condition, Rowe was shelled during the first month of the season.
Rowe began one of the most unlikely and memorable stretches in Tigers history when he defeated the Boston Red Sox on May 27 to earn his first victory of the season as a starter. Starting and occasionally relieving, Rowe won 21 of his next 23 decisions, including the record-tying 16 consecutive victories. “Rowe’s brilliant performances,” wrote Tigers beat reporter Sam Greene, “have had the effect of inspiring the other pitchers.”[fn]The Sporting News, August 9, 1934, 1.[/fn] Some of Rowe’s most compelling accomplishments were against the New York Yankees, whom the Tigers fiercely battled for the pennant. On two separate occasions, Rowe defeated the Bronx Bombers twice in a series while starting on short rest. In front of 79,000 fans at Yankee Stadium on August 14, he tossed a four-hitter to subdue the Yankees 7-3. Three days later he shut out New York on three hits while striking out 11 Yankees for the second time that season (Rowe notched ten or more strikeouts in a game six times in his career). Named to The Sporting News All-Star team, Rowe finished with 24 victories (trailing only Lefty Gomez’s 26) and just eight losses, completed 20 of 30 starts among his 45 appearances, and carved out a 3.45 earnedrun average in 266 innings. More importantly, the Tigers captured their first pennant since 1909.
Rowe’s folksy personality and his success appealed to baseball fans’ imagination during the hardships of the Great Depression. One of the tallest pitchers in baseball, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Rowe possessed glamorous good looks, with dark hair and eyes and a square jaw. He was a colorful and superstitious player, carried talismans, amulets, and tokens for good luck while pitching, and always picked up his glove with his left hand. Long before another Tigers pitcher — Mark “The Bird” Fidrych” — captured the attention of fans for his animated antics on the mound, Rowe was known for talking to the baseball, which he often called Edna in honor of Edna Mary Skinner, whom he married after the 1934 World Series. He once described his preparation for pitching: “Just eat a lot of vittles, climb the mound, wrap my fingers around the ball and say to it, ‘Edna, honey, let’s go.’”[fn]Associated Press, “Schoolboy Rowe, Pitcher, 48, Dies,” New York Times, January 9, 1961, 39.[/fn] During a nationally broadcast interview, Rowe famously asked his bride-to-be, “How am I doin’, Edna?” The question, which captured both Rowe’s charm and eccentricity, was as recognizable at the time as his nickname.
Sportswriter James Isaminger of the Philadelphia Inquirer noted that Rowe momentarily “replaced Babe Ruth as baseball’s biggest drawing card.”[fn]James C. Isaminger, “Rowe, Killed by Kindness.”[/fn] Comparisons to Ruth were de rigueur because of their shared pitching background, and especially their hitting prowess. Rowe batted .303 (33-for-109) in 1934 with 22 runs batted in and two home runs (both game winners, in the ninth and 11th innings, respectively). Rumors swirled that he would eventually be moved to the field like Ruth.
Praise for Rowe was effusive. Detroit News sportswriter H.G. Salsinger described him as “phlegmatic and totally composed,” adding, “[Rowe] has the finest pitching temperament the major leagues have known for some time. He has a sizzling fast ball, and explosive curve and a remarkable change of pace [and] he is never flustered.”[fn]The Sporting News, September 27, 1934, 4.[/fn] Syndicated writer Charles P. Ward praised Rowe’s character: “[He] never scolds teammates for making mistakes [and] never boasts.”[fn]Charles P. Ward, “Schoolboy Likes Detroit and Detroit Likes Him,” Detroit Free Press, March 29, 1942, 2[/fn]
In Detroit’s much anticipated World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1934, Rowe fashioned a 12-inning complete-game, 3-2 victory in Game Two. After a shaky start (six hits and two runs in the first three innings), Rowe tied a then-World Series record by retiring 22 consecutive batters, and yielded just one hit in the last nine frames. Not as sharp in Game Six, Rowe tossed a complete game but surrendered ten hits and three earned runs in a 4-3 loss. He pitched with a noticeably swollen right hand, which he claimed happened when he shook hands too hard with comedian Joe E. Brown, but the injury was actually the result of a physical altercation with a photographer.[fn]The Sporting News, July 1, 1953, 16.[/fn] The Redbirds’ colorful Dizzy Dean, with whom Rowe was often compared because of their down-home disposition, hurled an overpowering 11-0 shutout in Game Seven, during which Rowe was scorched for two runs in a one-thirdinning relief outing.
After an offseason filled with contract squabbles, Rowe arrived at spring training in 1935 predicting another pennant for the Tigers. The tall right-hander was hailed as a savior of sorts and the team’s hopes were pinned on his success; however, both Rowe and the Tigers got off to horrible starts. “[Rowe is] having his ears pinned back with astounding regularity,” reported Salsinger.[fn]H.G. Salsinger, “Salsinger Compares, “ Detroit News, September 18, 1935, 15.[/fn] With his heater lacking the speed from the previous season, Rowe slumped to a 3-5 record with an ERA well north of 5.00 on June 1. He won five of his next six decisions to improve his record to 8-6, and was named to the All-Star team for the first of three times. (He did not see action in the game.) Led by the “Big Four” (Tommy Bridges, General Crowder, Elden Auker, and Rowe), who combined for 74 victories, the Tigers went 20-8 in July to take over first place and held off the Yankees for the second consecutive year. Rowe was at his best in August, winning seven times, including three of his league-high six shutouts. He finished with 19 wins (13 losses), set career highs in innings (275⅔) and complete games (21), and posted a 3.69 ERA.
In a rematch of the 1907 and 1908 World Series, the Tigers faced the Chicago Cubs searching for the club’s first world championship. Rowe hurled a completegame seven-hitter in Game One, but the North Siders silenced the AL’s best hitting team on four hits. With the Tigers leading 5-3 in Game Three, Rowe took over in relief to begin the eighth inning, but surrendered two runs in the bottom of the ninth. After the Tigers scored a run in the 11th inning, Rowe pitched his fourth inning of relief to pick up the victory. Dueling Lon Warneke again, Rowe tossed a complete-game eighthitter, but was a tough-luck loser, 3-1, in Game Five. The Tigers finally captured their elusive title in Game Six, when Goose Goslin drove in Cochrane on a walkoff single in the ninth inning.
Rowe lived with his wife, Edna, in his home town of El Dorado in the offseasons. Often gracing newspapers in Detroit and throughout the South, the photogenic couple had two children, Lynwood Jr. and Josephine.
For many years, Rowe coached in Ray Doan’s baseball school in Hot Springs, Arkansas, prior to spring training. He also regularly participated in barnstorming tours throughout the South and Southwest, and officiated football and basketball games to stay in shape.
Battling shoulder pain all season, Rowe won 19 games for a “less formidable” second-place Tigers team in 1936.[fn]The Sporting News, September 3, 1936, 1. (The article started on page 1, but the quotation was in its continuation on page 2).[/fn] Charles P. Ward described the inconsistent Rowe as an “in-and-outer” as one never knew what to expect from the lanky hurler: the overpowering righty who completed 19 of a career-high 35 starts or the one who lasted four innings or less in nine of them.[fn]The Sporting News, April 1, 1937, 6.[/fn] The Tigers got out of the gate slowly and then lost the services of player-manager Cochrane for six weeks in the middle of the summer suffering from a physical and nervous breakdown.[fn]The Sporting News, June 11, 1936, 1[/fn] Rowe was named to his second All-Star team and pitched three innings, surrendering four hits and two runs (including a solo homer by Augie Galan).
After posting a 62-31 record from 1934 to 1936, Rowe won only one big-league game in the next two seasons, his career seemingly cut short by mysterious shoulder pain. His demise was not necessarily unexpected, as H.G. Salsinger reported prior to the 1935 season: “We’ve talked to several trainers who believe that Rowe will not have an extended pitching career. There is a hard lump on his shoulder. His muscles are not loose and pliable.”[fn]The Sporting News, March 28, 1935, 4.[/fn] Compounding the matter was the increasingly antagonistic relationship between Cochrane and Rowe. In May 1937 Cochrane surprisingly suspended Rowe for ostensibly being in poor shape, and rumors swirled that the Tigers had hired investigators to pry into Rowe’s private life.[fn]The Sporting News, May 27, 1937, 1.[/fn] “Rowe’s humiliation was undeserved,” opined Tigers beat reporter, Sam Greene.[fn]Ibid.[/fn] Ironically, in Rowe’s first start of the season, on May 25 (a loss to the New York Yankees), Cochrane’s skull was cracked on a pitch from Bump Hadley, thus ending his playing career.
Rowe made only four appearances for the Tigers in 1938 before he was assigned to the Beaumont Exporters. Lacking his typical speed and easy, loose delivery, Rowe had a hitch in his motion. Washington Senators skipper Bucky Harris felt that Rowe seemed to be “pushing rather than pitching the ball” because of chronic pain.[fn]The Sporting News, March 31, 1938, 12.[/fn] While pitching in the Texas League, Rowe made a remarkable and unexpected recovery, which he explained to Salsinger: “I decided I’d get my right arm around and touch my left shoulder. I took a deep breath, filled my lungs, closed my eyes, gripped the bedside with my left hand and threw my right arm as hard as I could. There was a crack like a pistol shot as the hand touched the left shoulder blade. The pain disappeared that instant.”[fn]The Sporting News, March 2, 1939, 10.[/fn] Schoolboy went 12-2 for Beaumont with a 2.27 ERA.
Rowe arrived at spring training in 1939 without the foreboding feelings of the previous two years. He made a “smashing comeback” by tossing a four-hit shutout against the Cleveland Indians on April 23 in his first start of the season.[fn]The Sporting News, May 4, 1939, 2.[/fn] Manager Del Baker, who had skippered Rowe in his first season of professional ball in 1932, gave the big right-hander extra rest between starts. Nonetheless, Rowe no longer possessed the heater that made him one of the best pitchers in the big leagues just a few years earlier, and by the end of July his record was just 3-9 with an ERA near 5.00. Rowe rekindled his magic in August, tossing four consecutive completegame victories to finish with a 10-12 record and a 4.99 ERA in 164 innings for the fifth-place Tigers. Despite “brief flashes of his old ability,” wrote Detroit sportswriter E.A. Batchelor, “[Rowe’s] work does not warrant Detroit counting upon him much in 1940.”[fn]The Sporting News, September 21, 1939, 3.[/fn]
Batchelor’s words seemed prescient when the 30-yearold Rowe was sidelined for four weeks after just his second start of the 1940 season. But Rowe made a “courageous comeback” and posted a remarkable 16-3 record (and league-best .842 winning percentage) for a team few expected to contend for the pennant.[fn]The Sporting News, October 3, 1940,1.[/fn] Rowe won eight of nine decisions in the last two months of the season when the team needed him most, as the Tigers overcame a four-game deficit on September 3 to win take the pennant by one game over the Cleveland Indians. “Six months ago,” wrote H.G. Salsinger, “there were probably only two men in baseball who believed Lynwood Thomas Rowe would stage a thorough comeback. One was Rowe; the other was [manager] Baker.”[fn]Ibid.[/fn] Rowe’s success in the regular season did not carry over to the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. He was shelled in both of his starts. He yielded five runs and eight hits in 3⅓ innings in Game Two and was tagged for two runs and four hits in just a third of an inning in Game Six. The overwhelmingly underdog Tigers lost a heartbreaking Game Seven, 2-1.
Rowe struggled for most of the 1941 season, winning just eight of 14 decisions and making only 14 starts. He was relegated to the bullpen for a two-month stretch, giving rise to the sentiment that he was washed up (again) as a starter. In a season with few highlights (the Tigers slipped to fourth place with a losing record, 75-79), Rowe tossed a career-best 14 innings on September 21, holding the Chicago White Sox to eight hits and a run in the second game of a double header. (Rowe got no reward for his efforts; the game was called because of darkness.)
Rowe began his tenth big-league season, in 1942, after a stressful offseason dominated by rumors of his imminent trade. After just two appearances, his career with the Tigers came to an ignominious close as the club sold him for an estimated $20,000 to the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 30. The Dodgers were loaded with six bona-fide starters; consequently, Rowe found little opportunity to pitch. After just nine appearances (including two starts), he was unceremoniously optioned to the Montreal Royals in the International League in mid-August. Initially Rowe refused to report to Montreal, claiming that he was through with baseball and insinuating that he would retire. “The Schoolboy’s case is truly a sad one,” eulogized sportswriter Charles P. Ward, “and it is made sadder when one realizes that he is one of the nicest players in baseball.”[fn]Charles P. Ward, “Ward to the Wise,” Unattributed clipping, May 5, 1942. Rowe’s Hall of Fame file.[/fn] With just ten victories in two years, Rowe’s career seemed to be over—for the second time.
On March 24, 1943, Rowe was traded to the lowly Philadelphia Phillies, who were coming off five consecutive 100-loss seasons. Rowe was reunited with new manager Bucky Harris, who had skippered him during his rookie season in 1932. The tall Arkansan miraculously rejuvenated his career with a knuckleball, an impressive slider, and an assortment of off-speed pitches. Rowe had thrown the knuckler occasionally as a rookie, but he learned to master the dastardly pitch during his short stint in Brooklyn, under the tutelage of knuckleball wizard Freddie Fitzsimmons.[fn]The Sporting News, May 13, 1943, 8.[/fn] Rowe won seven of his first ten decisions, including two shutouts (a four-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates and a three-hitter versus the Boston Braves), and sported a sparkling 2.03 ERA on July 1. Phillies beat reporter Stan Baumgartner called Schoolboy the “most popular player” on the team.[fn]The Sporting News, July 15, 1943, 3.[/fn] Rowe finished the season with a team-high 14 victories (eight losses), a stellar 2.94 ERA in 199 innings, and the best control in the NL (he walked a league-low 1.3 batters per nine innings). Schoolboy was arguably the Phillies’ best hitter, too, and led the league in pinch hits (15) and pinch-hit at-bats with (51). He finished with a team-high .300 average (36-for-120), four home runs and 18 runs batted in.
Rowe missed the entire 1944 and 1945 seasons after he was inducted into the Navy. He was initially assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, near Chicago, where he was reunited with Mickey Cochrane, manager of one of the most spectacular service teams during World War II. The Blue Jackets won 48 of 50 games in 1944 against an assortment of major-league, minorleague, college, and industrial teams. Rowe played primarily in the outfield and led the team with a .446 batting average (37-for-83). He attempted to save his arm from additional wear and tear and consequently rarely pitched in the Navy. While stationed in Hawaii in 1945, Rowe had his first taste of managing when he led a submarine-base team to a district championship.
The 36-year-old Rowe made yet another “magnificent” comeback with the Phillies in 1946.[fn]The Sporting News, June 26, 1946, 10.[/fn] In his first bigleague appearance in more than 2½ years, he tossed an 11-inning complete game to lose in heartbreaking fashion, 3-2, to the Boston Braves. Rowe (periodically referred to as “Schoolmaster” because of his age[fn]The Sporting News, May 14, 1947, 8.[/fn]) won 11 of 15 decisions and posted an impressive 2.12 ERA in 136 innings before a strained groin ended his season in August. More than ever, Rowe relied on his changeup, considered with Ted Lyons’s and Waite Hoyt’s the best in baseball.[fn]The Sporting News, March 31, 1948, 15.[/fn] “Rowe wound up like a windmill,” said Phillies manager Ben Chapman, “stuck his leg a coupla stories high in the air, pushed that big ‘dog’ of his in your face and you took a toe-hold for his fastball. But what did ya see? A slow pitch that you could almost count the stitches on.”[fn]Ibid.[/fn]
Rowe recovered from his season-ending injury, winning his first six decisions in 1947 to extend his winning streak to ten. “Like a cat with nine lives, and five more to go,” wrote Stan Baumgartner, “Rowe once more is stealing the headlines and astounding the boys who said he was done. [He] can ‘set up’ hitters for a certain pitch that he wants them to hit better than any pitcher in baseball.”[fn]The Sporting News, May 28, 1947, 5.[/fn] Against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 11, Rowe barely escaped a life-threatening injury when he raised his arm to protect himself from Stan Musial’s broken bat. A shard pierced Rowe’s right elbow, which later became infected and bothered him for the rest of the season. A month later Rowe suffered another freak injury when he was knocked unconscious in a train wreck on the way to his third and final All-Star Game in Chicago. He did not pitch, but pinch-hit for Warren Spahn in the ninth inning, clubbing a fly ball off pitcher Joe Page to end the game. Rowe finished the season with 14 wins, but his ERA rose to 4.32.
Rowe went 10-10 and 3-7 in his last two seasons with the Phillies (1948-49). He was recognized as a valuable mentor and taught young pitchers to inspect mounds, dirt, foul lines, and wind current in order to take every advantage possible. “Ballparks,” Rowe once said, “are individuals to me, not just so much stone, concrete, and steel. They are like a lot of old ladies with varying temperaments. You have to study them, humor them, go along with their whims on certain days. They are all built differently, dressed differently, react differently to rain, sunshine, fog, wind.”[fn]The Sporting News, May 5, 1948, 3.[/fn] His release at the conclusion of the 1949 season closed the book on a storied career that left fans wondering how good he might have been had he not been plagued by injuries. He won 158 games and lost 101 (.610 winning percentage) and posted a 3.87 ERA. One of the best hitting pitchers in big-league history, he possessed a .263 average with 18 home runs and 153 RBIs.
It appeared as though Rowe was headed for the broadcast booth after his release, but he chose instead to stage one last comeback in 1950. He signed with the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League, where he was united with one of his mentors, manager Del Baker.[fn]Associated Press, “Schoolboy Rowe To San Diego,” Spokane Spokesman-Review, December 8, 1949, 19.[/fn] Rowe struggled, winless in four decisions with a 6.52 ERA in 40 innings. He was released and subsequently signed by the Shreveport Sports of the Double-A Texas League.[fn] United Press, “Padres Release Schoolboy Rowe, “ Pittsburgh Press, June 18, 1950, 43.[/fn] Playing his home games less from 100 miles from his residence in Arkansas, Rowe showed that he could still pitch by winning eight of 11 decisions and posting an impressive 1.59 ERA.
From 1951 until his death in 1961, Rowe served the Tigers organization in a number of capacities. He was the player-manager of the Williamsport (Pennsylvania) Tigers of the Class A Eastern League in 1951, sporting a 6-3 record and 3.04 ERA in ten starts, at age 41. He managed the Buffalo Bisons of the International League in 1952. After working as a roving pitching coach for the entire Tigers farm system in 1953, Rowe spent two years as a first-base coach on the big-league club (1954- 1955). He also scouted and regularly offered pitching clinics for Tigers prospects. He overcame a heart attack in early 1957, and managed the Montgomery (Alabama) Rebels in the Class D Alabama-Florida League in 1958.
On January 8, 1961, three days shy of his 51st birthday, Schoolboy Rowe suffered a heart attack and died in his home town of El Dorado. He was buried in Arlington Memorial Cemetery.
This biography is included in the book “Detroit the Unconquerable: The 1935 World Champion Tigers” (SABR, 2014), edited by Scott Ferkovich.
Schoolboy Rowe player file from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
New York Times
The Sporting News