December 21, 2010

Howard Joseph "Howie" Pollet

Born June 26, 1921 in New Orleans, "Howie" Pollet signed his first professional contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, and it was as a Cardinal that he achieved his greatest success. In 1941, he led the Class A1 Texas League in both ERA and strikeouts as a member of the Houston Buffaloes which earned him a promotion to the Cardinals that season. He missed the 1944-45 seasons while serving in the United States Army Air Forces in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II.

He returned to baseball in 1946, and promptly played a major role in the Cardinals' National League pennant and world title wins. In addition to topping the NL in earned-run average, he led the league in wins and innings pitched. When the Cardinals finished in a tie for the pennant with the Brooklyn Dodgers at the close of the regular season, he was chosen by manager Eddie Dyer to start Game 1 of the best-of-three National League playoffs on October 1. Pollet hurled a complete game, 4-2 victory in the opener, and the Cardinals wrapped up the league title by easily winning Game 2. He started two games of the 1946 World Series against the Boston Red Sox, and lost his only decision, posting an ERA of 3.48 in 12 innings pitched.

He was traded to the second-division Pittsburgh Pirates on June 15, 1951, and thereafter struggled to post a winning record. During his 14-year career, he won 131 and lost 116 with a career ERA of 3.51. As a Cardinal (1941-43; 1946-51), his record was 97-65; as a member of the Pirates, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox (1951-56), he won 34 and lost 51. Altogether, he worked in 403 Major League games pitched and 2,107 innings pitched with 934 strikeouts. Pollet returned to the field in 1959 as the Cardinals' pitching coach, through 1964. In his last season there, the Cardinals won their seventh world championship. He then moved back to his adopted city of Houston in 1965 as pitching coach of the Astros for one season. He retired from baseball and resumed his business career in insurance, real estate and energy companies after the 1965 season, and died from adenocarcinoma in Houston at age 53, August 8, 1974.

GPS Coordinates
29° 46.884, -095° 36.958

Section 4
Memorial Oaks Cemetery
Houston

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