Frank Howard Relives D.C Past, Predicts Bright Nats Future

by Brian Tinsman

WASHINGTON — “I had my best year here. As a result, I live here.” And so Frank Howard will forever, memorialized in the Washington Nationals Ring of Honor.

The team inducted Howard, widely regarded as the best player in Washington, D.C. history, with a ceremony that took place on the field Friday night before first pitch against the Colorado Rockies.

Howard was a four-time All-Star in Washington, batting .277/.367/.503 with the franchise and earning such nicknames as “The Washington Monument,” and “The Capital Punisher.” He joins exclusive company, alongside Jackie Robinson and Frank Robinson in the right field facade near the foul pole.

“I’m not one to live in the past, but I’ll tell you what — any time you have a chance to be on Frank and Jackie Robinson’s team, it’s a real thrill for me,” Howard said. “It’s nice when someone says, ‘Welcome to the ring of honor.'”

Part of not living in the past has included becoming a fan of the current Washington baseball franchise, and one budding superstar in particular.

“[Bryce] Harper is [23] years old. He has five years in the big leagues,” Howard said. “He hasn’t begun to scratch the surface.

“His next 10 years should be dynamite years.”

Like Harper in 2015, Howard paced the Major Leagues in multiple offensive categories on a number of occasions, all as a member of the Senators.

In 1968, he paced the majors in home runs (44), slugging (.552) and total bases (330). In 1969, he again led the league in total bases, this time with 340. In 1970, his best season, he led the league in home runs (44), RBIs (126), walks (132), and intentional walks (29). The following season, he again led baseball with 20 intentional walks.

After finishing first in rookie of the year balloting in 1960 as a member of the Dodgers, he finished in the top-10 for the MVP award four times during his career, including three times with the Senators.

After his playing days were over, he enjoyed a long coaching career that mostly included stops in both leagues, on both coasts. In 2005, he was front and center when baseball returned to Washington for the first time in 34 years.

“It’s a game I spent 53 years in as a player, coach and as a manager,” he told the crowd at Nationals Park on Friday night. “Not everything goes your way, but the two or three things that didn’t go my way, there have been 1,000 great things that happened.”

 

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Comments

One Comment

  1. faridrushdi says:

    In that 1969 season, Harmon Killebrew hit a home run in the Twin’s last game of the year — a day game — to give him 49 to Frank’s 48. So manager Ted Williams batted Hondo at the top of the order in his last game to give him one more at-bat to tie Killebrew. As I remember, he hit one to the warning track in center but lost the home run race by one, 49-48.

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