Born: November 11, 1902
Died: June 8, 1975
Owen Thomas Carroll was born November 11, 1902 in Kearny. The boy everyone called “Ownie” had a powerful arm developed on the city’s sandlots. He had a sinking fastball and an excellent curve, on which he could control the speed, break and location. Ownie attended St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark and put together perhaps the greatest high-school pitching record of his time. He won 49 games and lost only 2.
A good student, Ownie continued his baseball career at Holy Cross, and became the start of the Crusaders mound corps. He won 50 games over four varsity seasons and again lost only twice—both as a sophomore. He went 16–0 as a senior in 1925.
Ownie was signed by the Detroit Tigers and and joined the team right after graduation that June. He pitched 10 games for Detroit as a rookie and went 2–2. After spending all of 1926 in the minors with Toronto, he rejoined the club in 1927. Ownie started 15 games and finished 13 for the 4th-place Tigers.
The 1928 season was Ownie’s best. He led the club with 16 victories and was among the Top 10 AL pitchers in complete games and ERA. The Tigers traded Ownie to the Yankees for Waite Hoyt in the spring of 1930, and New York sold him to the Reds at the end of the year. Ownie’s time with the Reds came to an end after he led the NL in losses in 1932. He was dealt to the Cardinals with Estel Crabtree for Jim Bottomley. A few weeks later, St. Louis sent him to Brooklyn for Dazzy Vance—meaning Ownie had been swapped for three future Hall of Famers in the span of three years. His final big-league season was 1935.
In spite of his 64–90 lifetime record on the mound, Ownie was considered one of the smartest men in the game and eventually he got into coaching. After World War II he landed a job at Seton Hall and transformed the program into one of the region’s strongest. The Pirates fashioned winning records in all but 5 of his 25 seasons.
Ownie was once asked which player was the best he coached at Seton Hall. He picked Ted Lepcio, an infielder who went on to play for the Red Sox in the 1950s. Other big-leaguers who played for him included Jeff Torborg, Johnny Briggs, Danny Coombs and Hank Fischer. Ownie retired after the 1972 season and passed away in Orange in 1975. The baseball field at Seton Hall was named in his honor.