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During a break in the fighting during World War I, Gowdy played some baseball.

This mini-pennant, from 1914, shows Gowdy in action.
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The War Hero

"Every outfit ought to have somebody like Hank (Gowdy). The boys idolize him and he gets them all stirred up with his baseball stories. He helps 'em forget about the terror of war."
- Colonel B.W. Hough

The first professional baseball player to enlist in World War I was Boston Braves catcher Hank Gowdy who did so on July 15, 1917. This uniform was worn by Gowdy on the front lines during the fierce fighting in Europe.

Gowdy fought in the spectacular fighting unit known as the "Rainbow Division," dubbed such by General Pershing. They, it seemed, had the uncanny "luck" of being surrounded by actual rainbows during heavy combat in France. When Gowdy returned from the war, a bona fide war hero, he was as popular in Boston as the mayor himself. Incredibly, 23 years later, when World War II broke out, Gowdy sought to serve his country again and, at the age of 53, was commissioned as a Major in the United States Army. He again served with distinction. The baseball diamond at Fort Benning, where soldiers enjoy playing the national pastime, is named Hank Gowdy Field. Gowdy passed away at the age of 76 on August 1, 1966 while living in Columbus, Ohio.

Gowdy was the catcher on the greatest comeback team in history, the world champion 1914 "Miracle" Boston Braves. He hit .545 in that year's Series leading his team to a 4-0 victory over the Philadelphia A's, which was the first-ever sweep of a World Series.

This is Gowdy's World War I cap, with the famous "Rainbow Division" patch on it.
The pipe that Gowdy smoked during WWI.

A telegram discharging Gowdy from his Army service in 1919.

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See the ball that Ty Cobb pitched in 1918, knowing that he was headed off to fight in World War I, thinking that he wouldn't return.