Joe Mowry, Sr: Now a Houston Buff with a Face

Photo of Joe Mowry, Sr. Houston Buffs (1905-1915) El Paso Herald, September 16, 1910 Found by Bill Hickman

Photo of Joe Mowry, Sr.
Houston Buffs (1905-06, 1908-10, 1912-15)
El Paso Herald, September 16, 1910
Found & Contributed by Bill Hickman

Thanks to the wonderful contributing SABR member from Maryland and Chicago Cubs fan since childhood, Bill Hickman, we at last have a photograph of former Houston Buffs dead ball era catcher Joe Mowry, Sr.  Mowry is significant to the history of the Buffs to this extent. – Over the course of his 9-year official playing record, Joe only appears as as an actual game player in each of those seasons as an on-the-field game-active career contributor to the baseball minor league winning causes of the Houston Buffs.

The e-mail note that Bill Hickman wrote in conjunction with this photo find reads as follows:


The Bill Hickman E-Mail
Hi, Bill  –
Stumbled across the attached photo of an ancient Houston Buffalo, and thought you might be interested.
Joe Mowry, Sr., was an outfielder with the Buffs for eight seasons, which is unusual stability for a minor leaguer.  He had his only chance for big league action when he was called up to the Phils at the end of the 1910 season and sat on the bench, thereby becoming a member of the noted “Bill Sharman Society.”   Documentation comes from the El Paso Herald of September 16, 1910, which reported: “Joe Mowry of the Houston team has been ordered to the Philadelphia Nationals at once and is now on his way to Quakerville.”
Perhaps Joe got his satisfaction in life some years later when his son, Joe Jr., became a full-time major leaguer with the Boston Braves during the 1933-1935 period.
By the way, baseball-reference doesn’t show it, but Joe was quite a speed merchant on the bases.  He stole 45 in 1907.
– Bill Hickman
 The Bill Sharman Society

We shall not presume that every reader knows the meaning of the “Bill Sharman Society” reference that Bill Hickman included as applicable also to Joe Mowry, Sr. Aptly named for one of the great NBA two-sport players of the post WWII era, Bill Sharman, it includes all baseball players who also made it to the roster of big league clubs, but never got to appear in actual regular or post-season games. Sharman’s identity for all those who fell to the same fate is amplified by the fact he not only played professional basketball, but played and coached well enough to later become a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, having been inducted in 1976 as a player, and in 2004 as a coach. As far as we know, the late Bill Sharman is the only member of “Bill Sharman Society” who may have been “other worldly” in another sport.

Of course, the society has nothing to do with great athletes who actually did play major league baseball and also did fair to very well in other sports too. Bo Jackson of the Kansas City Royals and NFL Oakland Raiders – and MLB/NFL/ great Olympian Jim Thorpe also jump immediately to mind.


Bill Hickman and Our Relentless SABR Research Passion

We are not all relentless about all things baseball, nor does one have to belong to SABR to enjoy the firing up of this engine to learn more about the game’s history and its people and past cultures, nor are we all hot about developing better, fairer, clearer, and more meaningful ways to analyze the game of baseball, nor do all of us have a pointed passionate specific torch burning. Some of us simply enjoy going to the games and being around other baseball people – as in “all of them” – and “all of them.”

Bill Hickman is relentless about baseball photos, especially those of players we have heard about, but never seen. And we now have Bill Hickman again to thank for making Joe Mowry, Sr. a little more real to 2016 baseball people than he was 24 hours ago. Also, The Pecan Park Eagle has no doubt. – If there’s another photo of Joseph Aloysius Mowry, Sr. out there somewhere, – that Bill Hickman will one day “stumble across” it too.

~ Thanks again, Bill Hickman! ~ And Congratulations again, Chicago Cubs! ~ You’re blessed to have some great baseball people as your fans!


 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

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7 Responses to “Joe Mowry, Sr: Now a Houston Buff with a Face”

  1. Cliff Blau Says:

    Anyone know where Mowry was in 1907 and 1911?

  2. Tom Hunter Says:

    Bill Sharman played for the Boston Celtics and was known as a great free-throw shooter, who led the NBA in free-throw percentage seven times. He also played on the USC Trojans’ College World Series championship team in 1948.

    A fellow Boston Celtic, Gene Conley, played on the Washington State Cougars team that went to the College World Series in 1950. In addition to playing basketball for the Boston Celtics, he also pitched in the major leagues for the Braves (both in Boston and Milwaukee), the Philadelphia Philles, and the Boston Red Sox.

  3. bhick6 Says:

    In response to Clif Blau’s question, an article in the Houston Post of May 9, 1911, says that Joe Mowry began the 1991 season with the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League, but broke his ankle in early May. Baseball-reference erroneously credits 12 games of Birmingham’s 1911 season to major leaguer Harry “Mike” Mowrey, as does Marshall Wright’s book on the Southern League.

    As for the 1907 season, several Houston Post articles suggested that Joe was thinking about returning to the Buffaloes that year, or wanted to return, but was delayed that spring, so my guess is that there were contract problems.

    Bill Hickman

  4. bhick6 Says:

    Sorry about the typo above. Meant to say that “Joe Mowry begane the 1911 season with the Birmingham Barons….”

    Bill Hickman

  5. bhick6 Says:

    A little more about 1907 — Joe Mowry did play somewhere that year, but not in Houston. As I mentioned in my original email to Bill McCurdy, Mowry stole 47 bases that year. That info came from the caption which accompanied the photo I sent to Bill. The caption also said Joe hit .300 in 1907, but it didn’t specify where he played. The date of the paper was Feb. 2, 1908. It did mention that he had played for Houston in 1905 and 1906. It said that he was currently in St. Louis. Perhaps that’s a hint that he had played in the St. Louis area in 1907, or maybe that was just his winter residence — I don’t know.

    I did a lot of searching for Mowry in 1907, including the Sporting News list of reserve players, and just couldn’t pin down a location for him.

    Bill O’Neal’s book on The Texas League describes him as having “possessed a powerful, accurate arm, he was extremely quick and a fine bunter, and he always batted leadoff.”

    Bill Hickman

  6. Cliff Blau Says:

    Thanks for the additional info, Bill Hickman. You don’t find many catchers batting leadoff.

  7. bhick6 Says:

    Joe Mowry was an outfielder — I think he played left field mostly.

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