The Portuguese in Hawaii have gone on to a variety of successes. Henry O’ana made his way to Major League Baseball.
A Talented Athlete
Henry “Hank” O’ana was born in 1910 in Waipahu, Honolulu County, Hawaii. 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.
Playing for the PCL
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”.
He first played for the San Francisco Seals and then the Portland Beavers. In 1934, he played for the Philadelphia Phillies. For the first 13 seasons, he was an outfielder and first baseman.
In 1942, Henry moved over to the Texas League. That’s when he took to the pitching mound.
He distinguished 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.
Player of the Year and a Championship
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 whose name you might have heard of: Eddie “Duke” Snyder.
O’ana’s Career Spanned Decades
Henry’s career spanned from 1929 to 1951. That’s 22 years in the big leagues.
He had a reputation as a playboy and was married multiple times. It appears he only had two children, sons, by his first wife, Arma Puninani Richardson.
After his career ended, he had eye issues including cataracts. He became an instructor for the blind and later in life, ran a fishing business in Texas.
He died of a heart attack at the age of 66. This is his FindaGrave Memorial.
To date, 22 Hawaiians have played in the Major Leagues. Some notables are Sid Fernandez, Mike Fetters, Shane Victorino, and Benny Agbayani.
Here’s a list of more baseball players from Hawaii
© 2003-2021 Melody Lassalle