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Frank Howard

One of my neighbors is moving away, his name is Frank Howard.

howard68-1.jpg


To most of you this will mean nothing, but to me it is very sad. Frank Howard is a giant; as good hearted man as you could ever meet. He was also among the great sluggers in major league history. He owns a World Series ring (with the Dodgers) and is one of three men to hit the roof in old Tiger Stadium. He was the only bright spot on the dreadful late 60's edition of the Washington Senators and twice accounted for more than 20% of the teams runs in a season.

He is "Hondo", that's the nickname for him I remember. With the Washington Senators he was known as "The Capital Punisher." He's also literally towered over other players of his era standing an imposing 6' 7".

But most of all he is Frank. He's the 67 year old guy shoveling snow off his driveway in the winter when we exchange small talk. He's the guy who notices my children says we'll need to get a ball team together. He's the guy who tells baseball stories over a beer on his deck.

I will miss being his neighbor. Even though they don't know it yet, my boys will miss being his neighbor.

Here are some career retrospective links for Frank Howard:


Comments (14)

I remember Frank "Capital P... (Below threshold)

I remember Frank "Capital Punishment" Howard well. He and Harmon Killebrew were the most feared power hitters of their time.

He was also a fine gentleman, as were many players of his day and all too few of ours. It's sad to think that so many uncivil whiners with a fifth of Howard's talents are earning a hundred times what he was paid for his efforts.

I've heard the name, but do... (Below threshold)

I've heard the name, but don't remember im. I'm more familiar with Harmon Killebrew.

Where is Frank going?

I remember Frank Howard. I... (Below threshold)

I remember Frank Howard. I had his baseball card for the Senators, probably '69 or so. TOPPS, green circle that year for Senators players. :)

They're moving to another V... (Below threshold)

They're moving to another Virginia suburb.

An interesting story would be one on how these guys (who never made the kind of $$$ today's players do) make a living after baseball.

I put this post up for selfish reasons, so I'd always have a spot to go find his career links. I'm glad a few of you found it interesting.

Wow, I remember seeing Hond... (Below threshold)

Wow, I remember seeing Hondo play right after the Senators became the Rangers. Gosh, I was still a kid. I hardly remember being a kid anymore.

It's good to hear that Fran... (Below threshold)

It's good to hear that Frank Howard is still alive and doing OK. So many of the ballplayers of that time are starting to pass away from us.

I seem to remember reading a story that said that Leo Durocher, who was a coach for the Dodgers when Frank first came up to the big leagues, refused to stand in the third base coach's box whenever Frank was batting, for fear that Frank would pull one just a little bit foul. I wonder if that was really true.

I fondly remember "Hondo". ... (Below threshold)
marc:

I fondly remember "Hondo". After a distingushed career as a Washington Senator he was a member of my, then beloved Detroit Tigers. Now very much hated for recent play, by the way. He was one of the keys to a 1968 World Series Win vs. St. louis.
The sight of him towering over a crouched catcher and Ump sent shivers to the opposing pitcher.
Give him a heartly goodby for me, and thanks for the memories.

P.S to Kevin in the post below mine. At the time Al Kaline was the first Tiger to break the $100,ooo dollar mark in pay. At the time I was makeing $3.45 an hour on a Ford assembly line.


I'm out.......

I stumbled across this whil... (Below threshold)
Scott McClellan:

I stumbled across this while searching for information about Frank. I had the honor of meeting him yesterday, as he was in town assisting our Battle Creek Yankees and had an autograph session prior to the Sunday afternoon game.

Frank was great with my 13 year-old son, and told us some very cool stories in the short time we were able to spend with him. He was also very generous with his time with everyone there, and signed as many items as people brought along.

What a refreshing experience, in this day and age when even some of the minor leaguers can't be bothered with a mere autograph. Frank Howard is a class gentleman.

As a 10 year old kid, I saw... (Below threshold)

As a 10 year old kid, I saw Hondo as my heo.

Frank Howard hit dozens of 500+ ft home runs. And on a bounce he hit the porch of a house in Baltimore.

He usually led the league in home runs, walks and strike-outs. The year that Ted Williams got him to switch bats to the biggest, longest bat any major league ever used, and he had one of his best years.

Nice tribute to one of my c... (Below threshold)
Kevin M.:

Nice tribute to one of my childhood heroes...as a 10-11 year old living in northern Virginia from 1966-69, I ate, slept, and breathed baseball, and Big Frank was godlike to me. Great to hear he's still doing fine.

I remember spending hours in the backyard attempting to recreate the big man's batting style: every last bat wiggle, uniform adjustment, toweling of sweat, gaping stance and molecule-displacing swing. Unfortunately, I still had an uppercut, and could never master Frank's ferociuos line-drive producing shoulder-level swing.

I've been fortunate enough to see a number of players known for mammoth homeruns, from Mantle and Killebrew to Kingman and Fielder to Canseco, McGwire and Sosa. But I've never seen ANYBODY hit a ball with more velocity, or one that left a ballpark faster while still climbing, than Mr. Howard. I believe it was in 1968 that he hit a line drive so hard off the Green Monster at Fenway that it had already rebounded to the shortstop before Howard was 2/3 of the way to first base. And the great Mantle himself recalled that in the '63 world series against the Dodgers, Howard hit a shot off Whitey Ford that was so low to the ground Whitey actually jumped to catch it. Luckily the 59 pitcher wasnt successful, because Mickey said the missile likely would have carried Ford along with it over the center field fence at Dodger Stadium, where it smashed as the ball was still rising.

Now THAT's the stuff real legends are made of. Kevin M.

Kevin Do you h... (Below threshold)
Mark M:

Kevin

Do you have an address where we can contact Mr. Howard at or maybe a Web Site?

I still remember the last home run he hit on the last day of the Senators in DC - What a site to see.

Mark

I always was a Frank Howard... (Below threshold)
David Burket:

I always was a Frank Howard fan, for his play but even more for his attitude. Favorite Frank Howard quote (paraphrased) -- speaking of those mid-1970s all-red Cleveland Indians uniforms --"They make me look like a giant hemorrhoid."

I always was a Frank Howard... (Below threshold)
David Burket:

I always was a Frank Howard fan, for his play but even more for his attitude. Favorite Frank Howard quote (paraphrased) -- speaking of those mid-1970s all-red Cleveland Indians uniforms --"They make me look like a giant hemorrhoid."

When I was a kid I went to ... (Below threshold)
Hollis French:

When I was a kid I went to see a couple of Senators games. My memory of Frank Howard was that the stadium would get very excited whenever he came up to bat. The other thing I remember was that he was so big, the bat looked like a toothpick in his hands.




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