Jeffrey Robertson, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, delivered the following speech at the 2023 Awards Banquet, where Nate Andrews was posthumously inducted into the St. Andrews Athletic Hall of Fame.
Nathan Hardy Andrews, Jr. (September 30, 1913 – April 26, 1991) was a pitcher in Major League Baseball who was born in Rowland, Robeson County, North Carolina. He played for five Major League teams in a span of eight seasons: St. Louis Cardinals (1937, 1939), Cleveland Indians (1940–41), Boston Braves (1943–45), Cincinnati Reds (1946), and New York Giants (1946).
Andrews played high school baseball at Rowland HS, college baseball at Presbyterian Junior College then moved on to the University of North Carolina. After he led the National League with 20 losses in 1943, he won a career-high 16 games in 1944 and was also selected for the All-Star Game. In his career, he posted a 41–54 record with 216 strikeouts and a 3.46 earned run average in 773 1⁄3 innings pitched, including five shutouts and 50 complete games.
Released by the Reds on June 11, 1946, Andrews was quickly snapped up by Mel Ott in New York. Three appearances later – including his final big-league win, against Cincinnati on June 19, 1946 – Andrews walked away from the major leagues. A couple of months later, he offered an explanation: “I came home … of my own accord. I decided I had had enough of the Big Show and the time had come for me to return to North Carolina, where I could be with my family. I had a lot of years up there and too many away from home” [emphasis added]. There were rumors about a return to the majors with Pittsburgh in 1947, but Andrews chose minor-league venues close to home (Wilmington, North Carolina, and Florence, South Carolina) to play, coach, and manage through the 1948 season.
Andrews occupied his post-baseball career working in the family drugstore in Rowland, and he later opened a dry-cleaning business. In the 1950s he scouted for the White Sox, and sport was never far from his purview. He refereed amateur football games. He pursued his passions of hunting and fishing. In Andrews’ later years, circulation problems forced the amputation of both legs below the knee, and depression soon followed. Andrews was heartened by the resulting groundswell of support from the public.
Andrews, 77, died on April 26, 1991, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to which he had moved for better employment opportunities in 1959. He was brought home to Rowland, where he was buried in the community cemetery. In 2013 he was survived by three of his five children, seven grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.
Yesterday, I spoke to Judith Andrews Adams, one of Nate’s three surviving daughters (Olivia Andrews Robbins, Betty Andrews Stennette), and she said his favorite quote was “I played for the LOVE of the game.” His daughters also fondly recall a story he was prone to tell of striking out Ted Williams twice in an exhibition game. Ted, he said, invited Nate to dinner that evening and pressed the hurler as to how he was pitching to the future Hall of Famer. Not sure if Nate ever told him his secrets!
In honor of the 90th Anniversary of Presbyterian Junior College class of 1933, please join me in celebrating Nathan Hardy “Nate” Andrews, PJC ‘33, posthumously inducting him into the St. Andrews Athletic Hall of Fame, class of 2023.