Text/Justice Eagle Hero (Subscribe to “MLB Galaxy” and enjoy more professional MLB articles)
“He’s the strongest man in the history of the major leagues.” – “Hitting God” Ted Williams, who has a career batting average of 0.344, describes his young soldier Frank Howard
Fall of giants
Just as the World Series between the Texas Rangers and the Arizona Diamondbacks was in full swing at the end of last month, the Washington Nationals, who had taken their winter break early and missed the playoffs this season, suddenly issued sad news that the football world was reluctant to part with – Frank Howard, who was born in the Los Angeles Dodgers and played brilliantly for the Washington Senators (now the Rangers). Known for his huge stature and uncanny hitting power, Frank Howard died in the hospital due to complications from a stroke at the age of 87.
Although Howard has never played for the Nationals either as a player or after retirement, given the geographical relationship that the team has been stationed in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States since 2005, and the fact that both parties have always maintained good relations, Howard’s name was even listed on the bypass list. Paying tribute at the “Ring of Glory” in the home stands, the Nationals representatives also announced the death of the legendary player and expressed their condolences.
“As a baseball fan growing up in Washington, Frank Howard was one of my heroes,” Nationals owner Mark D. Lerner recalled in a statement on the team’s community, recalling the 382-hit slugger in his career. Those big home runs in the stands at RFK Stadium earned him the nickname “Capital Punisher,” but what I will always remember is his kind and gentlemanly demeanor… Today, Baseball Kingdom A true giant has been lost.”
Looking back at Howard’s 16-year major league career, in addition to wearing a blue jersey when he was awarded the Rookie of the Year award in 1960, he was selected to the All-Star Game four times, twice ranked among the top five in the annual MVP voting, and won two home run titles. Important achievements such as becoming a RBI king were all achieved while serving for the Senators. On the other hand, the Senators, who had just been established that year, were still in a dark period. In the 8 seasons (note) that Howard assisted, the winning rate was more than half in only one year. The pitching and shooting ability was rarely impressive. Howard seemed to be the heart of a few baseball fans in the capital at that time. One of the consolations is that it is no exaggeration to call him a ray of light in the dark tunnel of the team. “We are like living next to Frank Howard,” said Jim Riggleman, a former Nationals coach who was born in Rockville, Maryland, and his hometown is near Washington. Inspired: “In those years, he maintained baseball’s status in Washington, D.C.”
Legend of strange power
Even though he always wears a pair of glasses and looks polite, Howard still attracts attention every time he steps on the court with his mammoth figure of 201 centimeters tall and weight of 115 kilograms, not to mention that the average figure of the players is far inferior to that of the 1960s. From this, it is not difficult to imagine the amazing explosive power when he catches the seam ball, and home runs with high and long flight trajectories have become his signature. When he was playing for the Dodgers in 1960, he once swept a ball over the center field home run wall at Forbes Field, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, which was 457 feet away. What was even more exaggerated was that the ball was actually 560 feet away from home plate. was found in the parking lot.
In addition to not giving up, Howard hits the ball with such fierce force that even if he just hits the ball into the court, it is often jaw-dropping. In the first game of the 1963 World Series, Hall of Fame left-hander Whitey Ford of the Stripers was hit by his big stick and a deep hit ball flew to the outfield of Yankee Stadium. It was estimated that the landing point was 460 feet. Due to the speed of the ball and Howard’s slow feet, he could only barely reach second base. This ball has since been nicknamed “the longest two-base hit in the history of Yankee Stadium.”
While still wearing the blue jersey, Howard once hit a ball 90 feet away towards teammate Duke Snider who was waiting on the third base bag, leaving a mark in the mind of the outfielder who would later be stationed in Cooperstown. An indelible shadow, “In order to avoid the ball hitting me, I was wearing a protective helmet, and he really did that.” Snider recalled the shocking scene at the time: “The ball (quickly) swept over my head I hit my shoulder, the bottom of my helmet, and blood started pouring out of my ears. They picked me up and left me, and I was dazed for about three, four, or five days.”
The capital’s sanctioners show up
Even though the legend of domination is not enough to prepare for it, the most amazing performance of Howard’s career is still unprecedented and unprecedented, and he has performed 10 times in 6 games in a single week. In the bottom half of the 6th inning on Sunday, May 12, 1968, he first blasted a pitcher from the Detroit Tigers, Mickey Lolich, who had won 217 games in his career, and then hit reliever Fred Lasher the next inning, revealing that he had been until 5 On Saturday, March 18th, an incredible miracle started with a 20-hit seaside team carrying 10 home runs until the first half of the 5th inning.
“Although strong right-hand pitching is not good for me, I have an excellent sense of balance in the strike zone, can see the ball clearly, and will not swing the bat too early to chase the ball.” From Howard’s review many years later, supplemented by his career The data against right-handers is indeed far inferior to that against left-handers, but inferring from clues such as the number of home runs against left-handers and right-handers in these 10 rounds, which were 5 each, it is not difficult to imagine how hot his situation was at that time.
The reason why this record is precious is that in addition to Howard’s exaggerated rate of one blast every two times he stepped on the strike zone, three of the ten blasts were for Lolich, and he was responsible for the first and last blasts. The record is also unique. You must know that Lolich, who recorded 17 wins and 9 losses in the season and an ERA of 3.19, was not only a key player in the Tigers’ rotation that year, he also dominated the World Series in the same year and won 3 games. He almost single-handedly pushed the Green Forest Army to the championship. Throne, it is not easy to cause such heavy damage to him.
In addition, 1968 was the peak of the infamous “Second Dead Ball Era” in the history of the major leagues, commonly known as the “Year of the Pitcher”. Looking at the National League, only one hitter with the required number of hits crossed the 30% batting average threshold. It is no wonder that within a week, he wrote Howard, who has a 0.542 batting average and an OPS value approaching 2.4, has been nicknamed “The Capital Punisher”, which sounds bloody and terrifying at first glance, but originally means a law enforcement executioner. It also refers to the city where the Senators team is located. (To be continued in the next article)
Continue reading the story
Note: In 1972, the Senators moved west to Arlington and were renamed the Texas Rangers as they are now known. It was also Howard’s last season with the team, so the name of the team in the last year of his eight-year career was not Washington Senator.
[Yahoo Sports Column]The article only reflects the author’s opinion and does not represent the position of Yahoo!
◤Follow more MLB◢
[MLB Column]From Shohei Otani to the free market, a brief discussion of the qualified offer system