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Elston Howard

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Full Name: Elston Gene Howard Primary Position: C,OF
Height/Weight: 6' 2"/196 First Game: April 14, 1955
Birthdate: February 23, 1929 Final Game: September 29, 1968
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri MLB Experience: 14 years
Died: December 14, 1980
Deathplace: New York, New York
Bat/Throw: Right/Right


Biography

Elston Gene Howard (February 23, 1929December 14, 1980) was a Major League Baseball player.

He was born in Saint Louis, Missouri.

In 1948, the 19-year-old Howard entered the Negro Leagues, playing for the Kansas City Monarchs. He played three years as an outfielder and catcher.

He was the first African-American to play for the New York Yankees. The Yankees were relatively late to sign African-American players, but finally signed Vic Power and Howard. Power, however, was traded away to the Philadelphia Athletics before ever playing a game for the Yankees.

Howard was signed from the Monarchs on July 19, 1950. He was assigned to the Yankees' farm team at Muskegon, Michigan, and after several years in the minors, played his first game for the Yankees on April 14, 1955. Quote from 1955 Bowman company baseball card: "Elston comes to the Yankees as on of the most heralded rookies in many years. Although he has been a catcher, and is carried on the roster as a catcher, it is thought that he may be converted into an outfielder. It seems he is just too good not to play regularly major league ball. and yet it is hard to displace a veteran as good as Yogi Berra. Elston was with Toronto in 1954, and he batted .331, he had 22 homers and 108 runs batted, in to his credit. However, from what the experts say, statistics don't tell half the story."

He played in nine All-Star Games, every year from 1957 to 1965, his best year was 1961 when he had a career best .348 average on a legendary team that featured Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. He was awarded the Most Valuable Player award in 1963, the first black player to win it in the American League. That year he batted .287 and hit a career high 28 home runs. He won the Gold Glove Award twice, in 1963 and 1964.

On August 3, 1967 he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Pete Magrini and a player to be named later (Ron Klimkowski was sent to the Yankees five days later). He was assigned uniform number 18 by the Red Sox, and played a vital role in the Red Sox winning the American League pennant that year.

On October 29, 1968 he was released by the Red Sox. The next year, he returned to the Yankees, where he coached for 11 years. He was the first black coach in the American League.

He died of a heart ailment in New York City. In his memory, the Yankees wore black armbands on their sleeve during the 1981 season.

On July 21, 1984, the Yankees retired Howard's uniform number 32 and dedicated a plaque in his honor for their Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. On the same day, the Yankees gave the same honors to Roger Maris, who, unlike Howard, was then still alive to receive the honor. Howard's plaque calls him "A man of great gentleness and dignity."


Statistics

Batting Stats

Year Team G AB R H HR RBI AVG OBP SLG 2B 3B BB SO HBP SH SB IBB GDP
1955 NY A 97 279 33 81 10 43 .290 .336 .477 8 7 20 36 1 1 0 5 4
1956 NY A 98 290 35 76 5 34 .262 .312 .362 8 3 21 30 1 2 0 6 11
1957 NY A 110 356 33 90 8 44 .253 .283 .379 13 4 16 43 0 6 2 6 18
1958 NY A 103 376 45 118 11 66 .314 .348 .479 19 5 22 60 0 4 1 6 9
1959 NY A 125 443 59 121 18 73 .273 .306 .476 24 6 20 57 3 4 0 4 12
1960 NY A 107 323 29 79 6 39 .245 .298 .353 11 3 28 43 0 2 3 7 8
1961 NY A 129 446 64 155 21 77 .348 .387 .549 17 5 28 65 3 1 0 6 5
1962 NY A 136 494 63 138 21 91 .279 .318 .474 23 5 31 76 1 3 1 1 20
1963 NY A 135 487 75 140 28 85 .287 .342 .528 21 6 35 68 6 1 0 4 17
1964 NY A 150 550 63 172 15 84 .313 .371 .455 27 3 48 73 5 0 1 12 10
1965 NY A 110 391 38 91 9 45 .233 .278 .345 15 1 24 65 1 1 0 3 16
1966 NY A 126 410 38 105 6 35 .256 .317 .356 19 2 37 65 1 0 0 9 12
1967 NY A 66 199 13 39 3 17 .196 .247 .271 6 0 12 36 2 1 0 3 6
1967 BOS A 42 116 9 17 1 11 .147 .211 .198 3 0 9 24 1 1 0 3 4
1967 TOT A 108 315 22 56 4 28 .178 .233 .244 9 0 21 60 3 2 0 6 10
1968 BOS A 71 203 22 49 5 18 .241 .317 .335 4 0 22 45 1 2 1 7 5
Total 1605 5363 619 1471 167 762 .274 .322 .427 218 50 373 786 26 29 9 82 157

Fielding Stats

Year Team POS G GS INN PO A ERR DP TP PB SB CS PkO AVG
1955 NY A C 9 0 0 23 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1955 NY A OF 75 0 0 124 10 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 .978
1956 NY A OF 65 0 0 97 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .990
1956 NY A C 26 0 0 108 14 0 5 0 2 0 0 0 1.000
1957 NY A OF 71 66 575.1 68 5 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .961
1957 NY A RF 2 2 17.1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1957 NY A LF 69 64 558 117 5 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .976
1957 NY A 1B 2 1 16 20 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1957 NY A C 32 26 238.1 178 11 3 4 0 3 6 9 0 .984
1958 NY A RF 9 8 70 18 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .947
1958 NY A OF 24 23 197 54 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .982
1958 NY A 1B 5 5 43 38 2 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1958 NY A LF 16 15 127 32 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1958 NY A C 67 64 591 355 26 1 8 0 3 18 17 0 .997
1959 NY A C 44 41 358.1 221 23 2 2 0 4 5 9 5 .992
1959 NY A RF 10 9 80 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1959 NY A OF 28 23 213.1 47 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .979
1959 NY A 1B 50 48 416 444 26 7 39 0 0 0 0 0 .985
1959 NY A LF 18 14 133.1 35 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .972
1960 NY A OF 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1960 NY A C 91 80 731.2 410 40 6 9 0 8 19 20 3 .987
1960 NY A LF 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1961 NY A C 111 106 923.1 635 43 5 4 0 8 20 20 0 .993
1961 NY A 1B 9 9 86 90 4 1 12 0 0 0 0 0 .989
1962 NY A C 129 124 1090.1 713 44 4 12 0 6 19 23 1 .995
1963 NY A C 132 128 1144.1 786 51 5 8 0 8 22 15 2 .994
1964 NY A C 146 141 1299 939 67 2 9 0 8 27 26 2 .998
1965 NY A C 95 93 814 614 43 6 6 0 10 39 22 3 .991
1965 NY A LF 1 1 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1965 NY A 1B 5 3 27 29 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1965 NY A OF 1 1 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1966 NY A C 100 98 851.2 553 44 9 6 0 6 30 19 1 .985
1966 NY A 1B 13 13 105 112 8 0 11 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1967 NY A C 48 47 419.2 289 26 5 4 0 3 19 11 1 .984
1967 NY A 1B 1 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1967 BOS A C 41 33 306 246 14 1 5 0 3 13 7 1 .996
1967 TOT A C 89 80 725.2 535 40 6 9 0 6 32 18 2 .990
1968 BOS A C 68 62 536 377 30 2 3 0 3 41 14 1 .995
Total LF 105 94 827.1 185 6 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 .979
Total 1B 85 79 696 734 44 8 70 0 0 0 0 0 .990
Total OF 265 113 994.2 391 18 9 3 0 0 0 0 0 .978
Total C 1139 1043 9303.2 6447 479 51 87 0 75 278 212 20 .993
Total RF 21 19 167.1 31 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .969

Transactions

  • Sold by Kansas City (Negro American) to New York Yankees (July 19, 1950).
  • Traded by New York Yankees to Boston Red Sox in exchange for Pete Magrini and a player to be named later (August 3, 1967); New York Yankees received Ron Klimkowski (August 8, 1967).
  • Released by Boston Red Sox (October 29, 1968).

Trivia

Howard and Pee Wee Reese have the dubious distinction of playing on the most losing World Series teams (six each). Ironicallly, Howard's first, in the 1955 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, was also the only winning World Series Reese played in. Howard had the especially dubious distinction of making the final out in the Series—a ground ball to none other than Reese.


See also

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