Friday, October 27, 2017

From My Collection: Frank Howard

I mentioned before that I don't consider certain cards "real," if they aren't contemporaneous with the player's playing time.  I don't have any "real" cards of Frank Howard, but wanted to post these anyway.  Here are the two cards of him I can find in my collection. 
1988 Pacific Legends Frank Howard.
The first is a Pacific card, from the 1988 Baseball Legends set.  Howard hit 382 career home runs between 1958 and 1973, so he surely fits in with the Legends set.
1985 Topps Circle K Home Run Kings card of Frank Howard.
The 1985 Topps Circle K Home Run Kings set, which I posted about recently, is naturally based on the career home run list as of the end of 1984.  At that time, Howard was 23rd on the all-time list, surrounded by players like Norm Cash, Rocky Colavito, Al Kaline, and Johnny Bench, among others.

I don't know much about Howard otherwise, since he is well before my time, and since he played with teams I don't follow closely, the Dodgers, the Senators/Rangers, and, briefly, the Tigers.  His time with the Senators was from 1965-1971, so the picture on the Circle K card must be from those years.  In 1970, he led the league with 44 HR, 126 RBI, and 132 walks.  What strikes me about the Circle K card, though, is how Howard looks like an old man.  He would only have been 35 the last time he played with Washington, and he was hitting for some serious power his whole time there, but he looks much older in the picture.

Howard went on to have an undistinguished career as a manager, with the Padres in 1981 and the Mets in 1983.  His managerial record was 93-133, for a .412 winning percentage.  That year with the Mets is part of what I'm reading about now in The Bad Guys Won, about the Mets 1986 championship season.  I'm still in the early part of the book, where the author is explaining how Frank Cashen rebuilt the Mets over several years in the early 80s, starting from a truly terrible club.  Howard was replaced as manager by Davey Johnson in 1984, who went on to win that 1986 World Series.

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