Frank Howard, one of baseball’s most prolific home run batters, died on Monday, October 30, 2023, at the age of 87. The Washington Nationals have verified his passing.
Howard, who was known by the nicknames “The Capital Punisher” and “Hondo”, had an extraordinary 16-year career in the major leagues, playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Washington Senators, the Texas Rangers, and the Detroit Tigers.
He was an All-Star four times, a home run champion twice, a World Series champion, and a rookie of the year. He also had a lengthy and fruitful career as a coach and instructor for player development for various teams.
Frank Howard Cause of Death and Obituary
Frank Howard, the renowned baseball player noted for his tremendous hitting, died at the age of 87 on October 30, 2023.
According to his daughter, Catherine Braun, the cause of death was complications from a stroke. For baseball fans, Howard’s death signified the end of an era. He was regarded as one of the sport’s most powerful sluggers, with a career filled with towering home runs and astounding accomplishments.
We are deeply saddened to share that Washington Senators legend Frank Howard has passed away at the age of 87. We join Frank’s loved ones in mourning. pic.twitter.com/PCEk13TSLs
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) October 30, 2023
His contributions to the game, particularly with the Washington Senators, left an enduring imprint on the sport and its supporters. Frank Howard’s obituary chronicles his incredible baseball journey, beginning as a college basketball star at Ohio State and ending with his decision to pursue a baseball career.
He rapidly built a name for himself in the major leagues, winning the National League Rookie of the Year award in 1960 and eventually becoming one of the game’s most feared hitters.
Despite his exclusion from the Baseball Hall of Fame, his legacy lives on through his great power hitting and his enduring popularity among Washington’s baseball fans. Frank Howard’s contribution to baseball and the happy memories he produced for fans will go on in the annals of baseball history.
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Frank Howard Early Life and Career
Frank Howard was born in Columbus, Ohio, on August 8, 1936. He was a two-sport All-American at Ohio State University, where he excelled in baseball and basketball. The Philadelphia Warriors of the American Basketball League drafted him, but he decided to play baseball instead. In 1958, he joined the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Howard debuted in the major leagues in 1958 and was named National League Rookie of the Year in 1960. In 1963, he helped the Dodgers win the World Series by hitting two home runs. He was also recognized for his tall stature (6 feet 7 inches) and strong arm.
Frank Howard Stint with the Washington Senators
Howard was transferred to the Washington Senators in 1965, where he quickly became a fan favorite and team legend. He led the American League in home runs twice (1968 and 1970), and in 1968 he set a record for most home runs in a single week (ten).
He also blasted some of the farthest home runs in RFK Stadium history, with some of his missiles landing in the top deck or even outside the stadium.
Howard was a Senator until 1971, when the team relocated to Texas and became the Rangers. He stayed with the Rangers for one more season before being dealt to the Detroit Tigers in 1972. After the 1973 season, he retired with 382 home runs, 1,119 RBIs, and a.273 batting average.
Frank Howard Post-Playing Career
Howard remained active in baseball after retiring as a player, serving as a coach and mentor. He coached with the Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, and New York Yankees, among others. During the 1981 season, he also managed the San Diego Padres.
In 2016, Howard was inducted into the Washington Nationals Ring of Honor alongside Senators legends such as Walter Johnson and Harmon Killebrew. In 2019, the Dodgers honored him with a bobblehead night.
Frank Howard Personal Life
Frank Howard had two marriages in his personal life. His first marriage was to Carol Johanski, a Green Bay Press-Gazette secretary. They married in 1958 and lived in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where they produced six children. Unfortunately, their marriage did not last.
Frank Howard found love again after his first marriage and married his second wife, Donna, in 1991. While he was a well-known baseball figure, he treasured his family life. Outside of baseball, Howard’s family, notably his children, was an important part of his life.
Frank Howard’s commitment to his family and philanthropic activities, such as raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, set him apart in his personal life. Even as a renowned baseball player, he stayed grounded and dedicated to making a positive difference outside of sports.
Frank Howard Legacy and Tributes
Both his contemporaries and his fans held Frank Howard in high regard for his talent, moral character, and love of the game. He was well-known for his generosity, friendliness, and humility. He was also a role model and guide to many young players who looked up to him.
Following his death, many people paid tribute to Howard, including former teammates, opponents, coaches, executives, journalists, and fans. Some of his former clubs sent words of condolence and appreciation for his contributions to baseball.
“Frank Howard was my hero as a baseball fan growing up in Washington, D.C.,” Nationals owner Mark Lerner said in a statement. “The towering home runs he hit into the stands at RFK Stadium gave him the nickname ‘Capital Punisher,’ but I’ll always remember him as a kind and gentle man.”
“He was the ultimate teammate, always,” said Dick Bosman, who played with Howard for Washington and Texas and stayed friends with him for decades. “Next to my dad, he’s the greatest guy I know.”
Frank Howard will be remembered as one of baseball’s greatest sluggers and one of its most popular people. Many individuals who knew him or saw him play will remember him fondly.
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