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Frank Howard

Frank Howard

Position(s):
LF, OF, RF, 1B, DH
Nicknames:
Hondo, The Capital Punisher
Born:
August 8, 1936
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
6' 7"
Weight:
255 lbs
Major League Debut:
9-10-1958 with LAN
Allstar Selections:
1960 ROOK

Intro

In Los Angeles, where he had to fight for playing time in a crowded outfield, Frank Howard was known as "Hondo" and won a World Series. In Washington he blasted tape-measure home runs for the Senators and stood out like a giant compared to his smaller (and lesser talented) teammates, who called him "The Capital Punisher." A powerful right-handed slugger of Paul Bunyon-like build, Howard won two home run titles and was the best player in Senators' expansion history. He later managed in the big leagues with little success.

Unform Number

#25 (1958-1964), #9 (1965-1968), #33 (1969-1973)

Quotes From

"How can you wheel that lumber tomorrow if you don't pound that Budweiser tonight?" — quoted as saying to his players, from columnist Tom Boswell. Thanks to SABR member David Paulson.

Replaced By

The 1972 Rangers realized that Howard was a bit long in the tooth, and that he was incapable of patrolling left field. They also had a stable of young outfielders who they wanted to get into the lineup, including Tom Grieve, Larry Biittner and Jeff Burroughs.

Best Season

Howard led the AL in just one category (total bases), but he was near the top in several others: eighth in batting (.296), sixth in OBP (.402), fourth in slugging (.574) and OPS, fourth in games played, hits (175) and walks (102), second in runs scored (111) and homers (48), and fifth in RBI (111). He excelled at RFK Stadium in Washington, batting .303 with 27 homers, 62 RBI, and a .607 slugging mark in 81 games. He belted 11 homers in July, when he batted .354 with a .707 slugging percentage.

Factoid 1

Frank Howard tied a major-league record on July 9, 1965, when he struck out seven times in Washington's doubleheader with Boston.

Coach

Milwaukee Brewers (1977-1980, 1985-1986), New York Mets (1982-1983, 1984, 1994-1996), Seattle Mariners (1987-1988), New York Yankees (1989, 1991-1992), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998-1999)

Transition

Before 1958 Season: Signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an amateur free agent; December 4, 1964: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers with a player to be named later, Ken McMullen, Phil Ortega, and Pete Richert to the Washington Senators for Claude Osteen, John Kennedy, and $100000 cash. The Los Angeles Dodgers sent Dick Nen (December 15, 1964) to the Washington Senators to complete the trade; August 31, 1972: Purchased by the Detroit Tigers from the Texas Rangers; October 25, 1973: Released by the Detroit Tigers. On December 4, 1964, the Dodgers traded Howard to the Senators, along with pitchers Pete Richert and Phil Ortega, and infielder Ken McMullen, for pitcher Claude Osteen, John Kennedy and some cash. Most folks probably know that Osteen won 147 games for LA after the trade, helping them to two World Series. Kennedy served as a utility infielder for two years, hit terribly, and was gone. Meanwhile, Howard hit 246 homers for the Senators/Rangers, leading the AL twice in that category. Howard also paced the league in slugging, total bases, RBI and extra-base hits while in his new uniform. Richert was pretty good while he lasted in the Capital: winning 15 and 14 games in his two full seasons before earning a trip to Baltimore where Earl Weaver used him from the bullpen on three straight pennant-winners. McMullen was the sleeper in this deal, the forgotten man. For the last five years of the 1960s he was at the steep incline that followed Brooks Robinson as the second best third baseman in the AL. But a closer look reveals that he wasn't that bad a player, even compared to Brooksie. During those five years (1965-1969), Robinson created approximately 408 runs. McMullen created 341. That's a 14-run advantage per year for Robinson. But McMullen used 140 fewer outs to create his runs. That's about one offensive game per year, and it narrows the gap. How much, I'm not sure, but McMullen was a decent third baseman, easily one of the two best in the league during that era. His contribution to those terrible Senators' teams swings the Osteen-for-Howard deal closer in favor of Washington.

Strengths

Intimidation

Weaknesses

Consistency

Milestones

On May 6, 1970, Howard hit his 300th career home run, a solo blast off the Angels' Rudy May in Anaheim Stadium.

Cup of Saki

Unable to latch on with a team in the majors, in 1974 Howard signed to play in the Japan League for Taiheiyo. In his first time at bat for his Japanese team, Howard swung mightily and struck out. More embarrassing was the fact that he tore something in his back on the swing. He never played another game in Japan.

"Name That Slugger"

If you watch the Game Show network or live somewhere where old game shows still find their way onto broadcast TV, you may catch a glimpse of big Frank Howard on "Name That Tune." The show debuted in 1974 and ran for seven years. Howard's wife was a contestant, and if you see the episode, you'll notice Howard in the front row, calmly encouraging his better half.

Most Home Runs, MLB (1962-1971)

Aaron... 386 Killebrew... 386 Mays... 327 McCovey... 326 Howard... 320

Highest Slugging Pct, MLB (1962-1971)

Aaron... .572 McCovey... .557 Mays... .545 F. Robinson... .543 D. Allen... .543 Killebrew... .533 Stargell... .518 Howard... .511

Most Times Walked Intentionally with No One on Base

This list encompasses the era in which intentional walk data has been recorded (through 2005). Barry Bonds... 36 Frank Howard... 8 Mark McGwire... 7 Willie McCovey... 5 Harmon Killebrew... 3

Notes

Howard beat out Pancho Herrera to win the 1960 NL ROY award. Teammate Tommy Davis and Chicago's Ron Santo also received votes.

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