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tBBC Making The List: Frank Howard

Discussion in 'News' started by jcollingsworth, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. Making The List: Frank Howard
    via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
    Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here

    Hondo. The Washington Monument. The Capital Punisher.

    These are nicknames of the Great Frank Howard. Born August 8th, 1936 in Columbus, Ohio he would go onto to be a “silent” superstar for The Ohio State University Men’s Basketball before moving on as a star in Major League Baseball.
    Hondo was one of the most physically intimidating players to ever play in MLB. The 6’8”, 275 lb. Frank Howard was one of the few players in the Collegiate world of sports that was an All-American in both basketball and baseball at Ohio State.

    At the Ohio State University, he would be more noticeable in the basketball program. It was full engines ahead – he was a complete rebounding machine. Frank currently holds the school record with 32 rebounds in a game versus BYU in 1956. He had over 20 rebounds in a game nine times in his career, and finished with 9.6 rebound a game average in total. He led the team in rebounds in each of his three seasons.

    Howard played in a total of 66 games during his Buckeye years and rode the 1950’s with dominance. His abilities were completely unmatched in his Buckeyes era. Which places him, unquestionably, as one of the best Buckeye basketball players ever.

    Howard would be drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors of the NBA. Listed in college at 6’8″ and 275 pounds, he instead signed with the LA Dodgers of MLB. His career at OSU in baseball Hondo would pass the .300 mark in two seasons, ending with an OSU average of .290. There would be flashes of power as well – which he would eventually become known for. But it would be his arm in the field that the pros were interested in when he was drafted by the Dodgers. As the Brooklyn Dodgers scouting report would provide in 1956: “Great arm. Fielding below average. Hitting below average (good potential). Running speed slightly below average. Major league power. Definite follow-up here.” The Dodgers would say later “…an unfinished product. This product will shine.” They would be right.

    In 1959 Frank would be named the NL’s Rookie of the Year after hitting 23 homeruns, batting .268 and 77 RBI’s. He would be nicknamed Hondo after a John Wayne Movie of which he’d pleasantly respond “… that’s nice but I like Henry Fonda.”

    Frank Howard’s numbers in MLB are completely unquestioned. A nice tribute is to acknowledge that the winning runs for Sandy Koufax’s third no-hitter in 1962 would be on a Howard homerun, with two on. The Dodgers would add two more making it 5-0.

    Frank Howard is an unlikely name in the discussion of Making the List. His Buckeye years were more geared toward that of basketball. But what we know him from through later years would be baseball. He was a total star in MLB.
    Howard would mention his best years would be with the Washington Senators. “In the trade that took me out of Los Angeles to our nation’s capital I can only say brought a frame of mind to my heart that wanted to show everyone that I can play baseball.”

    He proved it too.

    In 16 seasons, Howard was a .273 career hitter with a .499 slugging average, 382 home runs and 1,119 RBI in 1,895 games. His lifetime marks included 864 runs, 1,774 hits, 245 doubles, 35 triples, eight stolen bases and a .352 on-base percentage; his 1,460 strikeouts were then the fifth highest total in major league history.

    After a Hall of Fame career for MLB in 1974, unable to find work with any team, he went off to Japan. Signing with the Taiheiyo Club Lions of Japan’s Pacific League he would step into the batter’s box, his first at bat, swing mightily, and pull a back muscle. He never played again in Japan.

    Frank would move into the coaching arena as the Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1977-80 before moving onto the San Diego Padres in 1981. In all he would post a 93-133 career managerial record.

    Frank Howard is a true Buckeye with notability from his years as a basketball player. In that alone he is deserving. Though his baseball career at OSU was less noticed it would be what the world would remember him by. And to the credit of the Dodgers this is the reason why.

    Frank Howard, another south-ender of Columbus, as was Herb Williams, who we acknowledged last week, and myself, I am quite pleased to say welcome to Making the List. Frank you are a Great Buckeye.

    The post Making The List: Frank Howard appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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