Howie Pollet – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
Fortier High School/Major League Baseball
Howard “Howie” Pollet was a star baseball player from Fortier High School who logged a 16-year career in Major League Baseball as a left-handed pitcher. He earned three trips to the All-Star Game (1943, 1946, 1949) and twice led the National League in earned-run average (1.75 in 1943 and 2.10 in 1946). His career record was 131-116 with an ERA of 3.51.
Pollet signed to play professionally straight out of Fortier and was exceptional in his first two years in the minor leagues. He was 15-6 as an 18-year old with the New Iberia Cardinals (Class D) and the Houston Buffaloes (Class A) in 1939. In 1940 and 1941, he was dominant in the Texas League for Houston. He was 20-7 with a 2.88 ERA in 1940 and then 20-3 with a 1.16 ERA and 151 strikeouts in 1941. That performance earned him an August call-up to the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals and he continued to excel with a 5-2 record and a 1.93 ERA in nine outings.
After two solid seasons with the Cardinals in 1942 (after which he earned a World Series ring) and 1943, he missed the 1944 and 1945 seasons while serving in the U.S. Air Force in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
Upon his return in 1946, the southpaw recorded league-bests of 21 victories and 266 innings in addition to his sterling 2.10 ERA as he led the Cardinals into a tie for the league pennant. He earned the start in the opening playoff game against the Brooklyn Dodgers and tossed a complete game in a 4-2 win as the Cards won two straight to advance to face the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. Despite Pollet posting an 0-1 record in two World Series starts, St. Louis captured the title.
After nine years with the Cardinals (1941-43, 1946-51), he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates where he played three seasons (1951-53). He also pitched for the Chicago Cubs (1954-55), the Chicago White Sox (1956) and the Pirates again (1956).
Born June 26, 1921 in New Orleans, Pollet died August 8, 1974 in Houston at the age of 53. He has also been inducted into the Diamond Club of New Orleans Hall of Fame (1967) and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame (1981).