If Justin Verlander can turn down a five year $75 million dollar offer from the Tigers (he “settled” for $80 million!) one can only imagine what Lynwood “Schoolboy” Rowe would have been worth if he were the Tigers’ pitching ace today.
With fellow starters Tommy Bridges and Elden Auker, the Tigers boasted a powerful pitching staff that was caught by player manager Mickey Cochrane and backed up by the incomparable “Battalion of Death” infield of first baseman Hank Greenberg, second baseman Charlie Gehringer, shortstop Billy Rogell, and third sacker Marvin Owen. (That year the four infielders accounted for 462 RBIs, a record never matched by any other infield.)
At 6-4, Rowe was a towering figure for his time, and with his handsome looks and southern charm Rowe was a fan favorite, especially with women. But Schoolboy was already taken by this high school sweetheart Edna Skinner.
What he said to her on a national radio broadcast soon drew the attention of fans across America including opposing players and fans who would tease him with it for the rest of his career.
During a September 1934 broadcast on the Eddie Cantor Show, Rowe asked his high school sweetheart, “How’m I doin’ Edna?” From then on Rowe would often hear the catcall, “How’m I doin’ Edna?”
Rowe posted a 1-1 record in the ’34 World Series as the Tigers fell to the Cardinals in seven games. In Game 2 Rowe pitched a remarkable 12 inning complete game allowing two earned runs while retiring 22 consecutive batters.
The following season Rowe helped lead the Tigers to the 1935 World Championship posting a 19-13 record with 21 complete games and a league leading six shutouts.
Rowe would later have arm troubles in the late ‘30s but in 1940 he helped the Tigers to another American League pennant with an impressive 16-3 record and the highest winning percentage amongst AL hurlers.
In 1942 the Tigers sold Rowe to the Dodgers and he would later finish his career with the Phillies before becoming a coach and scout for the Tigers in the 1950s.
Rowe died of a heart attack at age 50 in 1961. He will forever be remembered as one of the greatest right-handed hurlers in Detroit Tigers history.