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Frank Howard (baseball player)

From Academic Kids

Frank Oliver Howard (born August 8, 1936) is a former outfielder/first baseman, coach and manager in Major League Baseball.

Contents

Career

A powerful slugger, Howard enjoyed a 16-year professional career playing with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1958-64), Washington Senators (1966-71), Texas Rangers (1972) and Detroit Tigers (1972-73).

Howard was born in Columbus, Ohio, where he was a basketball and baseball star at Ohio State. Listed at 6-8, 275 pounds, he signed with the Dodgers organization, replaced Carl Furillo in right field, and was named National League Rookie of the Year in 1960, after hitting a .268 batting average with 23 home runs and 77 RBI.

Howard belted 98 homers in the following four seasons, and his home run off Whitey Ford in the fourth and final game of the 1963 World Series helped beat the New York Yankees. Then came his trade to Washington in a late 1964 deal.

During an amazing one-week stretch in the spring of 1968 (May 13-18), Howard hammered 10 home runs in 20 at-bats, hitting at least one dinger in six consecutive games. His 10 home runs are also the most ever in a same week. He would eventually hit 13 homers in 16 games, a mark that would stand until Albert Belle matched it in 1995. Howard finished the '68 season leading the American League with 44 HR.

In 1969 Howard hit a career-high 48 homers (Harmon Killebrew was the home run champion with 49), and in 1970, he led the AL both in HR (44) and RBI (126).

Howard is one of three players (along with Killebrew and Cecil Fielder) to have reached the top of the left-field roof at Tiger Stadium. And he is reported as the only player ever to whack a fair ball out of Yankee Stadium (though the umpire ruled it foul ball, Yankees outfielder Bobby Murcer said it was fair). During his National League days, Howard also crushed a ball an estimated 560 feet at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh.

Unable to find a job in the majors, in 1974 Howard signed to play in the Japan's Pacific League for the Taiheiyo Lions. In his first time at bat for his new team, he swung mightily and struck out, hurting his back, and never played again.

Statistics

Howard was a .273 career hitter with 382 home runs and 1119 RBI in 1895 games. His numbers included 864 runs, 1774 hits, 245 doubles, 35 triples, eight stolen bases, a .352 of on base percentage and .499 of slugging average.

Following his retirement as a player, Howard managed the San Diego Padres (1981). With the New York Mets, he took over as interim manager for 116 games in 1983 after George Bamberger resigned. Howard posted a 93-133 managerial record.

Howard also coached for the Milwaukee Brewers (1977-80, 1985-86), New York Mets (1982-84, 1994-96), Seattle Mariners (1987-88), New York Yankees (1989, 1991-92) and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998-99). In 2005, he's still active, working for the Yankees in player development.

Highlights

  • 4-time All-Star (1968-71)
  • NL Rookie of the Year (1960)
  • Twice led the AL in HRs (1968, 1970)
  • Led AL in RBI (1970)
  • Twice led AL in total bases (1968-69)
  • Led AL in slugging average (.552, 1968)
  • 4-time top 10 MVP award
    • NL: 9th, 1962
    • AL: 8th, 1968 - 4th, 1969 - 5th, 1970

Facts

  • In a negative aspect, Howard collected a significant number of strikeouts in his career 1460 times in 6488 at-bats. Included in that total was a record six consecutive times in a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox. Finally, Howard hit the ball and grounded into a double play to end the streak. "The only guy to make eight outs in seven at-bats and finally get a standing ovation for it", he smiled.
  • In 1971, Howard hit the last regular-season home run in the Washington ballpark on a late September evening when Yankees pitcher Mike Kekich sent up a 2-0 count room-service fastball ordered by New York manager Ralph Houk. Howard crossed home plate and is said to have thanked catcher Thurman Munson. After a curtain call, Howard tossed his helmet liner into the stands. It was reported that he cried; Howard said he did not.
  • On April 14, 2005, baseball came back to Washington. Four decades before, Howard thought it wouldn't be long before the president any president would deliver another opening-day pitch. "I thought that within five years it would be back", he said. "Well, 34 years later, here we are". Before the game between the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks, Howard returned to left field and a rousing ovation during a pregame celebration to honor several former Senators players. "I know I'm going to left field if I can make it that far without having a coronary", laughed Howard, at 68. "I used to be able to sprint out there but don't even know if I'll be able to jog. I told (former teammate) Eddie Brinkman, 'For crissakes, call 911 if I have a blowout in left field.' "

Quote

  • In LA, where he had to fight for playing time in a crowded outfield, Howard was known as "Hondo" and won a World Series. In Washington he blasted tape-measure home runs and stood out like a giant compared to his smaller (and lesser talented) teammates, who called him "The Capital Punisher". Howard won two home run titles and was the best player in Senators' expansion history --The Baseball Page (http://www.thebaseballpage.com/past/pp/howardfrank/).

See also

Sources

  • Baseball Reference (http://www.baseball-reference.com/h/howarfr01.shtml)
  • USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/saraceno/2005-04-15-saraceno-howard_x.htm)
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