Hank Gowdy had been out of the game as a player for ten years by the time he was coaching the Reds in 1940. It'd be another six years before he'd get a shot at managing the team in 1946. Gowdy appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot 17 times between 1937-1960, receiving as much as 35.9% of the vote.
Gowdy played 17 years in the majors as a catcher from 1910-1930 for the Boston Braves and New York Giants. He earned a World Series ring with the Braves in 1914 against the Athletics. Gowdy was a major contributor--batting .545 with 3 RBI and a Homerun in 16 plate appearances--during the 4-game sweep. Gowdy also made it to the World Series in consecutive years with the Giants in 1923 and 1924, losing to the Yankees and Senators. An interesting note is that Hank Gowdy fought in both WWI and WWII.