|Shortstop / Catcher|
December 8, 1856|
|Died: April 25, 1911
St. Louis, Missouri
|Batted: Left||Threw: Right|
|September 6, 1879 for the Buffalo Bisons (NL)|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 1890 for the Buffalo Bisons (PL)|
|Career highlights and awards|
Rowe was born in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, in 1856. He first played baseball under Tom Loftus with the Peoria Reds in 1878. In 1879, Rowe and his brother, Dave Rowe, signed with the Rockford team in the newly formed Northwestern League. At Rockford, Rowe earned a reputation as one of the best hitters and bare-handed catchers in the game.
After the Northwestern League folded in early July 1878, Rowe signed with the Buffalo Bisons of the National League. He played in eight games for Buffalo in 1879, batting .353 in 38 plate appearances. He remained with Buffalo for seven years from 1879 to 1885. While playing in Buffalo, Rowe was part of the group with Dan Brouthers, Hardy Richardson, and Deacon White that came to be known as the "Big Four."
In 1886, the "Big Four" were sold by Buffalo to the Detroit Wolverines. Rowe remained in Detroit through 1888, when the team disbanded. Rowe played shortstop for Detroit and was part of the 1887 Detroit Wolverines team that won the World Series over the St. Louis Browns. He also hit for the cycle on August 21, 1886.
At the end of the 1888 season, the Detroit team folded, and Rowe was sold to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys. Rowe and Deacon White decided instead to purchase the Buffalo team in the International League. The owner of the Pittsburgh team refused to release Rowe and White, reportedly saying, "If they don't want to play in Pittsburgh, they'll play nowhere." Rowe opted to play for Pittsburgh in 1889. In 1890, Rowe concluded his playing career as a player, manager, and owner of the Buffalo Bisons in the newly organized Players' League.
Rowe suffered a nervous breakdown. He died in April 1911 at his daughter's residence on Cates Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri, at the age of 55. He was buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.
- "Famous Jack Rowe Has Passed Away: Great Catcher Who First Played Under Tom Loftus, Buried Saturday; Originator of 'Big Four'; Rowe Was Member of the Peoria 'Reds' When Dubuquer Was In Charge of the Team". The Telegraph-Herald (Iowa). April 30, 1911.
- Labor and capital in nineteenth century baseball, by Robert P. Gelzheiser, page 98.
- The Dead Ball Era
- Baseball Almanac
- Baseball Reference player page