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Elston Howard

Elston Howard

Position(s):
C, LF, OF, RF, 1B
Born:
February 23, 1929
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
6' 2"
Weight:
196 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-14-1955 with NYA
Allstar Selections:
1958 BR, 1963 GG, 1963 MVP, 1964 GG

Intro

The first black man to play for the New York Yankees, Elston Howard was also the first black man to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award, which he did in 1963. The versatile Howard was an outstanding catcher/outfielder for the Yankees from the mid-1950s through the 1960s. He played on ten pennant-winning teams in a 13-year stretch, earning four World Championship rings.

Unform Number

#32 (1955-1967), #18 (1967-1968)

Replaced By

Russ Gibson and Tom Satriano.

Best Season

Though he won the MVP in 1963 (one of the strangest MVP votes ever), we'll give his '61 campaign the nod here. He played almost the same amount of games as he did in '63, and batted 35 points higher (.348) with a slugging percentage (.549) almost 100 points better. In '61 he joined Mantle, Maris and the other slugging Yankees in setting the single-season record for homers. Howard hit 21 home runs, drove in 77 (batting low in the order), and fielded .993 behind the plate.

Factoid 1

On July 23, 1955, Elston Howard followed teammate Bob Cerv's pinch-hit homer with a pinch-hit homer of his own. It was the first time in baseball history that back-to-back pinch homers were hit.

Transition

Before 1950 Season: Signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent; August 3, 1967: Traded by the New York Yankees to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later and Pete Magrini. The Boston Red Sox sent Ron Klimkowski (August 8, 1967) to the New York Yankees to complete the trade; October 29, 1968: Released by the Boston Red Sox.

Strengths

Adaptability

Weaknesses

Speed. Casey Stengel reportedly said of Howard: "I finally get a black guy and they give me the only who can't run."

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Tagged:
AL MVP 1963, Baseball History, Bobby Richardson, Boston Red Sox, Casey Stengel, Catcher, Elston Howard, New York Yankees, Ralph Houk, Tony Conigliaro, Yogi Berra

Comments

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