Portuguese Hawaiian Profile: Henry O'ana, Major League Baseball Player
By Melody Lassalle
Henry "Hank" O'ana was born in 1908 in the Hawaiian Islands. His father was Hawaiian and and his mother was Portuguese. Henry attended St. Louis College. His reputation was as a talented athlete and a bit of a ladies man.
Henry began is professional baseball career in the Pacific Coast League in 1929. He had several nicknames including "the Hawaiian Prince" and "Prince O'ana". In 1934, he played for the Philadelphia Phillies. He first played for the San Francisco Seals and then the Portland Beavers. For the first 13 seasons, he was an outfielder and first baseman.
In 1942, Henry moved over to the Texas League. He distinguised himself as a starting pitcher with the Ft. Worth Cats. In 1943, he was a relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. Henry is the only Hawaiian native to make in the Pros as a position player and pitcher.
In 1946, Henry was a member of the Dallas Rebels. At the age of 38, his record was 24-10 and he hit over .300. That year, he was named "Texas League Pitcher of the Year."
The same year, the Rebels won the Dixie League championship title. They ended up winning the Southern League playoffs against Atlanta. Henry figured in the outcome, having pitched well in one game and poorly in another. He is noted for giving up a home run to a 20 year old up and comer named Eddie "Duke" Snyder.
Henry's career spanned from 1929 to 1951. He died in Hawaii in 1976.
To date, 22 Hawaiians have played in the Major Leagues. Some notables: Sid Fernandez, Mike Fetters, and Benny Agbayani. Visit this link to read more and see a photograph of Henry "Hank" O'ana.
16 Islanders Have Played in the Major Leagues So Far
More on Hawaii's Major Leaguers:
Hawaii No Minor Player in the Majors
Stats For Players Born in Hawaii
© 2003 Melody Lassalle