Frank Howard, the Bunyanesque slugger who hit a few of baseball’s extra spectacular dwelling runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Senators whereas additionally rolling up an unbelievable strikeout complete, cannot beat his penchant for chasing foul balls, died Monday in Aldie, Va. He’s 87 years previous.
His dying, at a hospital, was resulting from problems from a stroke, his daughter Catherine Braun mentioned.
Listed at 6-foot-7 and 255 kilos — although chubby at occasions — Howard performed 16 seasons within the large leagues and hit 382 homers. He led the American League in that class twice. Lots of his dwelling runs – and even the few hits that did not clear the fence – are memorable.
As a Dodger in 1960, he hit the ball over the left-field wall at Forbes Area in Pittsburgh that was positioned subsequent to a parked automobile about 560 ft from dwelling plate.
Shedding in opposition to Whitey Ford in Sport 1 of the 1963 World Collection, on the unique Yankee Stadium, he hit a drive that landed, in honest territory, simply to the left of the monuments to the Yankee greats in heart subject, about 460 ft from at dwelling plate. . He simply shuffled all the way in which to second base in what has been known as the longest double in Yankee Stadium historical past.
In Sport 4, he hit a 450-foot homer off Ford into the left subject mezzanine at Dodger Stadium, in a 2-1 victory that accomplished a Dodger sweep of the Collection.
Howard drove in 1,119 runs in his lengthy profession. However he additionally struck out 1,460 occasions.
A humble muscleman who’s well liked by teammates and pleasant to followers, Howard can chuckle at his failures. He as soon as informed how the nice hitter Ted Williams, who grew to become the Senators’ supervisor in 1969, helped him present extra endurance on the plate. Nevertheless, Williams couldn’t include his frustration.
“Somebody defined to a customer that among the seats outdoors RFK Stadium have been painted white to mark the place a few of my lengthy dwelling runs had landed,” Howard informed The New York Instances in 1981. “Ted turned to the man and mentioned, ‘All of the inexperienced seats are for the occasions he hit.'”
A basketball and baseball star at Ohio State College earlier than signing for a $108,000 bonus with the Dodgers in 1958 (roughly $1.2 million in right this moment’s cash), Howard was often called Hondo, after Hondo Lane, the strapping knight scout performed by John Wayne within the 1953 Hollywood western “Hondo.” Whereas enjoying for the Senators, he was known as the Capital Punisher.
Howard was the Nationwide League rookie of the yr in 1960, when he hit 23 dwelling runs for the Dodgers after enjoying briefly for them the earlier two seasons.
His greatest years have been with the Senators, who acquired him in a multiplayer commerce earlier than the 1965 season. He hit an American League-leading 44 dwelling runs in 1968, highlighted by a enjoyable in Could when he struck out 10 in a stretch of six video games.
“The correct of energy pitchers went in opposition to me,” he mentioned in recalling the home-run barrage for the web site of the Nationals, Washington’s third main league franchise within the fashionable period. “I’ve good steadiness on the plate. I noticed the ball effectively. I did not commit too early to the pitch. “
Howard hit a career-high 48 dwelling runs in 1969 and the following yr led the AL in homers, with 44, and runs batted in, with 126.
He was an All-Star in 4 consecutive seasons as a Senator, principally with shedding groups. On Sept. 30, 1971, he hit the Senators’ final dwelling run at RFK Stadium earlier than the workforce left Washington and have become the Texas Rangers.
However he isn’t an entire participant. Though he wore glasses, his fielding, principally as an outfielder and generally at first base, was missing. He couldn’t management his sorrows. His profession batting common is just .273.
Frank Oliver Howard was born on Aug. 8, 1936, in Columbus, Ohio. His father, John, was a machinist. His mom, Erma (Denny) Howard, was a homemaker. Frank was an All-American basketball participant at Ohio State as a junior within the 1956-57 season, when he averaged 20.1 factors a sport.
He was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors of the NBA however prevented professional basketball.
Howard hit 123 dwelling runs for the Dodgers, however they determined to not let him go after the 1964 season, by which his batting common dropped practically 50 factors, to .226, and his 24 homers representing a drop for the second consecutive yr.
Involved that two of their beginning pitchers, Sandy Koufax and Johnny Podres, may not get well from arm illnesses, the Dodgers despatched Howard to the Senators in a multiplayer deal that introduced them Claude Osteen, who gained the 15 video games for a Washington workforce that resulted in. ninth place. (That Washington ball membership was created in 1961 as an enlargement workforce when the previous Senators left Minnesota to develop into the Twins.)
After his time in Washington and Texas, Howard was despatched to the Detroit Tigers halfway via the 1972 season. He retired after the 1973 season. He managed the San Diego Padres within the strike-shortened 1981 break up season and the Mets in 1983, who changed George Bamberger on the time. Each groups completed final. He was additionally a coach for a number of groups, together with the Mets and the Yankees.
In 2009, the Nationals erected three statues of their ballpark, representing Washington’s baseball timeline. Howard was honored together with Walter Johnson, the nice pitcher from the early many years of the twentieth century, and Josh Gibson, the star catcher for the Homestead Grays within the Negro leagues, who performed their dwelling video games in Pittsburgh and Washington.
Howard married Carol Johanski in 1959. They divorced within the mid-Eighties. He and Donna (Scott) Howard have been married from 1990 till her dying in 2016. A number of years later, Howard and his first spouse remarries.
Along with his daughter Catherine, he’s survived by his spouse, together with their 5 different kids, Tim, Daniel, Mary and Mitch Howard and Rebecca Thomas; a sister, Grace Rocci; eight grandchildren; two grandsons; two nice grandchildren; and lots of great-grandchildren. He lives in Aldie, west of Washington.
For all his lengthy dwelling runs, certainly one of Howard’s wildest drives, in a 1958 Dodger sport at Cincinnati, was solely 90 ft.
Duke Snider was the runner on third when Howard got here to the plate.
“I had my helmet on for cover in case he hit one on me, and he did,” Snider informed Sports activities Illustrated in 1964. “The ball went over the shoulder and hit the underside of my helmet. My ear began bleeding. They took me and I used to be dizzy for 3, 4, 5 days.”
As Snider mentioned, from firsthand data, “Frank Howard has extra uncooked energy than anybody in baseball.”
Alex Traub contributed to the report.