Hall of Fame

W. Banks McDowell, Class of 1940

Induction Class of 2000

McDowell is better known as “Lefty” by his friends, began his athletic career at Lee High School in Columbus where he helped the Generals win a State Title in 1935 and they National Prep School Championship in 1936 by beating Austin High School of Chicago 7-6.

McDowell played baseball his freshman year at Mississippi State before transferring to Sunflower Junior College in 1939. He joined the National Guard in 1940 and spent the next five years in the Armed Services fighting in North Africa, Italy and the European Theater.

He returned to the life of baseball in 1946 and played one year with Miami Beach of the Class C Florida International Circuit. From 1947-1950 he played center field for the Jackson Senators of the Southern League, a Class B franchise of the Boston Braves. In 1947 he helped the Senators win the league pennant and in 1948 was name the to the league’s All Star team. After the Southern League folded in 1950 McDowell was picked up by the Montgomery Grays, a Class A minor league team with the Braves, and enjoyed successful seasons until 1953 when he moved to a Detroit Tigers farm team in Hartford. Connecticut. The team was moved to Greenville in 1954 and became the Greenville Bucks until the Cotton States League folded in 1955. In all, Banks McDowell spent 10 years in the minor leagues.

In 1955 he and his family moved to Meridian and went into the wholesale florist business, but he stayed close to baseball and in 1960 was elected Vice-President of the Central Mississippi Umpires Association.

McDowell has since retired both from business and officiating.

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