Mobile Sports Hall of Fame to induct Carvel ‘Bama’ Rowell

Mobile, Alaa.(WKRG) – He was a player, a soldier, and an inspiration. Now, 30 years after his death, Carvel “Bama” Rowell is inducted into the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame.

Born in 1916 in Citronelle, Rowell left LSU, where he was on a football scholarship, to sign a professional baseball contract.

In 1939, at the age of 23, Rowell made his debut in the major leagues playing 21 games for the Boston Braves for eventual Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel.

In 1940, his true rookie year, Rowell was Boston’s second baseman. He hit .305, the 10th highest in the National League and the highest average in the majors among rookies. Rowell remained in the starting lineup in 1941, playing both second base and outfield and batting .267 with 60 RBIs.

Three months after the end of the season, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The United States was at war and Rowell was in the army where he served his country for the next four years, which should have been the pinnacle of his career.

At age 30, Rowell returned to the Braves in 1946 and hit .280.

Rowell hit .276 the following year for Boston, his final season in a Braves uniform. He played for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1948, which was his final year in the major leagues. Rowell spent four more years in the minors before retiring after the 1952 season.

Rowell will forever be known for his hit single at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn in 1946. His long drive hit a Bulova clock and broke it over the scoreboard in right field. That hit inspired the dramatic conclusion to the 1952 novel The Natural and the 1984 hit film.

Anyone who set the watch was supposed to receive a Bulova watch, but Rowell did not do so until the watchmaker sent a representative to Citronelle to correct the error in 1987.

Rowell will be posthumously inducted into the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 30 at the Mitchell Center. Other inductees were Kelly Ogden-Helaire, Joe Gottfried, Pat White, and Captain Munerlyn.

The induction dinner is held in conjunction with the First Light Community (formerly L’Arche) football preview. Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite.com.

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