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  • Writer's pictureMaine Baseball HOF

Gowell, Larry (1985)

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

Gowell, an Auburn native, was 16-0 in his schoolboy career at Edward Little. He pitched two no-hitters in his senior year. and broke the school record with 14 home runes in three seasons

Gowell signed with the New York Yankees as a fourth.

round pick in 1967. In eight years with the Yankees. he played with every team in the organization.

In 1969. Gowell posted a 16-9. record with a 1.74 ERA for New York’s Single A affiliate in Fort Lauderdale.

Fla. He was named the outstanding right-handed pitcher in all of Class A baseball. Gowell pitched two games for the Yankees. In September of 1972, he pitched two innings of no-hit, no-run relief against Milwaukee.

On October 3rd Gowell got a chance to start against the Brewers in Yankee Stadium. He pitched five innings, allowing three hits and striking out seven.

Gowell also made his mark at the plate, ripping a double off Jim Lonborg. The hit was reported to be the last by a pitcher before the advent of the designated hitter rule in 1973. Gowell credits his father, HS coach Art Belliveau and minor-league pitching coach Cloyd Boyer as the biggest influences on his baseball! career.

Gowell, 37, is currently working as a financial planner in Lewiston.

From Wikipedia

Lawrence Clyde Gowell (born May 2, 1948) is an American former professional baseball player. He was a right-handed pitcher who played in two games for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball in 1972. Gowell was drafted by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 1967 Major League Baseball draft on June 6, 1967. After winning every game at Edward Little High School in Auburn, Maine, he was signed by the Yankees to a professional contract. He pitched in the minor leagues for six years before making his major league debut, after winning 11 games in a row in Double-A. Gowell was listed at 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and 182 pounds (83 kg).

Major league career

The Yankees called up Gowell from their minor league organization in 1972 to play as a September call-up. Gowell made his major league debut on September 21 against the Milwaukee Brewers. The game was held at County Stadium, with 4,185 people attending the game. Gowell was called to replace Rusty Torres pitching and batting ninth in the bottom of the sixth inning. He pitched two innings with one strikeout. Felipe Alou was then called to pinch hit for Gowell in the top of the eighth inning. The Yankees lost the game 6-4. On October 4, as a starting pitcher (again facing Milwaukee) Gowell hit a double on a 3–2 count, hitting a fastball by pitcher Jim Lonborg for his first and only Major League hit and the last hit by a pitcher in a regular season American League game before the start of the designated hitter rule. The baseball that Gowell hit now resides in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, in Cooperstown, New York. Although Gowell allowed only one run during that game, the Yankees lost 1–0. It was Gowell's only MLB decision.

From Monument Monday, Fritz Peterson

"Larry was in contention for a major league roster spot in 1973. He was cut at the end of spring training, losing out to Casey Cox and Doc Medich. He didn’t make the team again in 1974; the new manager, Bill Virdon, seemed to judge him based on one bad tenth inning in an exhibition game against the Texas Rangers. A lot of the hype that spring was about Mike Pazik, a cocky southpaw from Holy Cross who wound up getting traded to the Twins for Dick Woodson. But Larry Gowell’s time as a MLB pitcher was indeed memorable and historic. I am glad to have known him."

Gowell, Larry (72)

From Baseball Reference

From Minor League Ball

Larry Gowell: Last American League pitcher to earn a hit before the DH.

In 1972, Yankees rookie Larry Gowell was the last American League pitcher to get a regular season hit before the advent of the DH. Clinton Riddle interviews him;

The city of Auburn is about 30,000 people. We call our area L/A area. That stands for the L/A of the northeast, since Lewiston is across the river. They have about 25,000 in Lewiston. It was a mill town in those early years, shoe factories.

A lot of blue-collar labor was needed to keep things going. A very friendly town and people, and they would really get behind you. Great sports and arts area. A lot of sports and music. My whole family played music; my brother was a songwriter, singer and guitar player and I was a trumpet and organ player and sang in the choir. I've been a professional singer for more than nine years now.

I was going to a Seventh day Adventist private school where I sang in the choir and played in the band. They had no sports programs of which to speak. I was told by people that I had to go to public high school to been seen. So, I switched to Edward Little High School in Auburn, Maine. It had a very good baseball team and its history was great.

We had the late Artie Belivieu, who was a Bates College graduate. He was a very good coach that happened to be a huge Yankees fan. So, in my first year I did not pitch that much as I was a new young buck on the team. I went 3-0. I was wild that first year. I threw very hard but walked a few too many. I still won all my games.

After having a great Legion baseball year I was a front-runner, pitching my team to a 6-0 season, breaking some strikeout records and pitching some close no-hitters. During the summer of my junior year was when I made my mark as a major prospect. Our New Auburn Legion team, under Jim Bouchles, went for the Maine State Championship in Augusta.

Since I did not pitch on Friday night and Saturday, I started the first game on Friday and pitched a 1 hit shutout. With one day rest on Saturday, I pitched on Sunday and pitched a no-hitter. That was 18 innings, with one hit, against the best in Maine. We had nine scouts at the game, and on that day I was on the radar of many teams.

So, now comes my senior year with scouts showing up like Frank Malzone for the Red Sox, the Cubs and Phillies scouts, and on and on. In my last season I was 7-0 with several one-hitters. I also was a great hitter in high school and hit .390 or so over my three years. I had the home run record (14) over three years until the metal bats came out and they broke it.

Now, one of the later games of the year my coach got the big scouts from the Yankees in to see me pitch against our rival, Lewiston High. Pat Cogan showed up to see me pitch for the first time just before the draft. In that game, I was throwing bullets. I knew he was sitting right behind the cage. I struck out 19 out of 19 hitters, then several tried to bunt on me and got some bunts down but we got them out. I ended up with 22 strikeouts, 3 walks and my first no-hitter in high school. It was the best I had ever thrown and the scout was all smiles, talking with me and my father.

At that point my value went way up. I was not going to be a fourth round pick before that game. The Cubs were the other team most interested in me, along with many others. Since my coach was a huge Yankees fan and he got the big scouts to come to what was the very best game of my life, I ended up picked 61st out of the whole nation.

I was told many years later by some scouts that the 1967 draft was the most talented group of players in the history of baseball. So, my competition way very high. Yes, I was undefeated and had the home run record for the school in 1967.

The Yankees signed you in '67, send you to Oneonta. What was it like adjusting to your first year in pro ball? Are there any experiences that stand out from that season?

My father was a tough negotiator. We worked the Yankees hard to get a $20,000 bonus and he got my brother signed with me to watch over me my first year. My brother's name is Richard. He was on the bench, but did get up a few times and then they released him. Yeah, we had the fiery Frank Verdi, a little like Billy Martin. A great guy. I went 3-0 my first year.

I was in awe of the players. Many of them from major universities like Florida State, Arizona State, Clemson and so on. You say to yourself, “I have to be better than these big college players to get noticed?” It is overwhelming when you talk to a pitcher from Florida State who went 10 and 2 for Division I! I just came from a small school in Maine.

Anyhow, I did have a lot of pride in myself and I was told by Verdi that they all put their pants on the same way. “You are here because you have great talent, or we would not have taken you in the 4th round,” he told me. “We have faith in your abilities, so just go out and do your best.” Well, I did, with a 3-0 season after coming to the team in late-middle July because of a late signing.

The town of Oneonta is a great town, and the people really took you in like family. The one experience I had was on one night when I was throwing really hard. My brother was in the dugout looking in, and I threw a pitch and several people said they never saw it come out of my hand.

They just heard it hit the mitt.

From Wordpress site . Local Talent: The “Golden” Baritone – Larry Gowell

RIP to Larry Gowell, a pitcher who appeared in two major-league games. Despite the short career, he had one noteworthy accomplishment that makes him a unique part of baseball history. He died on May 11 at the age of 72 while playing golf, according to the posts his family and friends have left on Facebook. Gowell played for the 1972 New York Yankees.

His son Chad Holland posted the following message on Gowell’s Facebook page: “It is with complete and utter sadness that I have to share this but we lost a true spirit this morning doing what he loved to do out playing golf. So many loved and adored him. He always enjoyed his visits to see his grandkids and to see his grandson play baseball. He never met a stranger and was honestly the most positive person I had ever been around.

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