A true character off the ice, defensive stalwart Frank Bathe was the first star in two games over his hockey career. One was a church league contest, played in a storm so thick with snow no one actually saw the game. The other was with the Philadelphia Flyers, when he presented the Minnesota North Stars with some devastating hits in a 3-2 Flyer win.
Bathe, once oddly name Man of the Year by the Lumberjacks Association, could best be described as a hockey-playing non-sequitor. Frank's a funny guy, teammate Bobby Clarke said. He'd be even funnier if we understood him. Bathe's career ended early due to an ailing back, the price he paid for his physical style of play. In November of 1983 he underwent surgery to remove a herniated disc. He missed all but four games that season, which he spent with the Maine Mariners in the AHL, and played one final NHL game with the Flyers in the 1984 playoffs before calling it quits.
He had started his career with Detroit in 1974 after signing as a free agent, undrafted. But, after only two partial seasons, he was buried in the minors until the Flyers brought him back to life in 1977. Bathe then played seven partial seasons with the injury until finally retiring in 1984.