Gordon: 100 years ago, Hank Gowdy returned to Columbus

From Ken Gordon at the Columbus Dispatch on May 11, 2019, with mention of SABR members Jim Tootle and Rick Huhn:

Growing up, Pat Bonaventura had no idea that his Uncle Harry was a celebrity.

From the photos on the walls of Harry’s house in Clintonville, he knew his great-uncle had played professional baseball and served in the Army. But Bonaventura knew him more as a good guy who would occasionally take him to Columbus Jets minor-league baseball games.

“He didn’t talk a whole lot about the war or what he did,” said Bonaventura, 75, an East Side resident. “To us, he was our uncle. He was no one famous. It wasn’t until later that we realized he was a superstar.”

One hundred years ago, Harry Gowdy — commonly known as “Hank” —enjoyed a hero’s homecoming from World War I, parading down High Street as part of the Army’s 42nd Infantry “Rainbow” Division.

But that wasn’t the first parade Columbus had thrown for Gowdy. That occurred in October 1914, when about 30,000 people celebrated their hometown boy as a World Series hero — the man who batted .545 to help the “Miracle” Boston Braves sweep the mighty Philadelphia Athletics.

It was later that Gowdy gained renown for being the first major-league ballplayer to volunteer for World War I and the only player to serve in both World War I and World War II, according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Read the full article here: https://www.fayobserver.com/news/20190511/100-years-ago-hank-gowdy-returned-to-columbus

Originally published: May 16, 2019. Last Updated: May 16, 2019.