Happy Birthday, Frank Howard

frank howard Happy Birthday to Frank Howard, one of the most fearsome hitters I ever played against. In his sixteen major league seasons, he hit 382 Home Runs and scared the hell out of hundreds of pitchers like me. Hondo had a .328 career against me. The first time I faced him was on July 8, 1966, the first game of a Friday night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. It was my rookie season. Fred Valentine started the game with a leadoff bunt to me and made it safely to first; then he moved to second on Ken Hamlin’s bunt to me. Ken Harrelson hit an RBI double to right. Hondo came up and hit a Triple to center, scoring Ken. We were down 2-0. I got the next two batters out. The Yankees won, 7-5, and I pitched a complete game. And I remember the first time I pitched against the new Texas Rangers in Arlington in 1972, Hondo homered off me too. Besides the Rangers and Senators, where he was also known as the Capital Punisher, he also played for the Dodgers and Tigers. And Hondo was also a Yankee: he coached for New York for three seasons and was a longtime Yankee minor league instructor.

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