Results tagged ‘ Frank Howard ’

A look back at Frank Howard’s impact on baseball in Washington from someone who was there

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Brad Eney (left) and Frank Howard (right) at Fenway Park.

Before playing the Rockies on Friday, the Nationals inducted former Washington Senators outfielder Frank Howard into the Ring of Honor at Nationals Park. During the ceremony, Nationals Manager Dusty Baker spoke glowingly about Howard, who was his brother’s favorite player while growing up.

“He’s the most pleasant gentle giant of a man that I know,” Baker said. “Now, I’d hate to upset him because as a kid his name was Big Frank Howard or Hondo.”

Howard is one of the most beloved figures in D.C. baseball history and, to this day, no player representing Washington D.C. has been able to hit more home runs than Howard – a legendary 237.

During his time in Washington, teammates, media and fans alike marveled at Howard’s tape-measure home runs, many of which taunted cavernous D.C. Stadium’s dimensions. As Dusty alluded to, his powerful hits earned him the nicknames “The Capital Punisher,” “The Washington Monument,” and “Hondo.”

Before the ceremony on Friday, we had the pleasure to sit down with someone who knew Howard very well, Brad Eney. Brad orchestrated team travel for the Washington Senators from 1969 to 1971, and attended every Senators game during the 1970 and 1971 seasons. Brad and his wife, Linda, traveled from West Virginia to Nationals Park on Friday to help honor Frank. Brad participated in pregame ceremonies, and proudly watched as Howard was inducted into the Ring of Honor.

Brad on Frank’s incredible size…

“I’ve got a picture of me and Frank [from his playing days]. I was 265 pounds at the time, and he makes me look like a 10-year-old, undernourished kid. This guy was big.”

On Frank’s legendary power…

“We were in Boston and I remember Frank was taking batting practice, and I was in left field shagging flies. He’s bouncing them off the big Green Monster. I [kept thinking] I’m going to catch this one, and then it’s ten feet over my head. You can count the dents in that wall that Frank put in there. It was unbelievable how hard he could hit a ball.”

On Frank’s amazing one-week stretch in the spring of 1968, when he hit 10 home runs in 20 at bats

“The team had a series in Detroit, and people were just sitting there with their mouths hanging open. Another [home run]. Then another one. Another one.”

On the Senators leaving for Texas in 1971 and the Nationals bringing baseball back to Washington…

“34 years without a ball club in D.C. was heartbreaking. On the final flight before our last series in D.C., I had to get on the PA system and I know I was choking up doing it. This town wasn’t just losing a ball club, I’m losing 40 friends. It was really a sad day. It was amazing when the team came back… we never miss a game on television.”

Thank you to Brad for chatting with us, and congratulations to Frank Howard on his induction into the Ring of Honor!

Frank Howard to be inducted into Nationals Ring of Honor on Friday, August 26

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The Washington Nationals will induct former Washington Senators outfielder Frank Howard into the Ring of Honor at Nationals Park Friday, August 26, before the Nationals play the Colorado Rockies.

“Frank Howard was the favorite player of so many Washington Senators fans until the team moved to Texas after the 1971 season,” said Mark D. Lerner, Vice Chairman and Principal Owner of the Washington Nationals. “Inducting Frank into the Nationals Ring of Honor will be a personal thrill for my entire family and me. We are excited to honor him for all he has contributed to the game of baseball and to celebrate his 80th birthday, which was on August 8th.”

Frank Howard hit 237 of his 382 career home runs during his seven-year tenure with the Washington Senators from 1965-71. No player representing Washington D.C. has hit more home runs than Howard’s 237. Current National Ryan Zimmerman is second on the list with 213. Howard represented the Senators in four All-Star Games (1968-71) and led the American League in home runs twice, clubbing 44 homers in both 1968 and 1970.

During his time in Washington, teammates, media and fans alike marveled at Howard’s tape-measure home runs, many of which taunted cavernous D.C. Stadium’s dimensions, earning him the nicknames “The Capital Punisher,” “The Washington Monument,” and “Hondo.”

We look forward to welcoming him to Nationals Park on Friday!

The Frank Howard Bobblehead is a hit… just like he is

Howard 012b.jpgThe rain delay couldn’t dampen the spirits of former Washington slugger Frank Howard and the hundreds of autograph seekers on his Bobblehead night. Howard might be the world’s most personable and charismatic autograph signer. He loves it. He soaked up every minute of it. He personalized Bobbleheads and signed “1960 ROY,” “The Capital Punisher” and “1968 and 1970 AL Home Run King” on each ball. He was schedule to sign from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30… there was still at line at 7:30 p.m. Not a big deal at all.


“My captain Pee Wee Reese once told me, ‘You have a problem once they stop asking for your autograph,'” Howard said with a smile.


Howard 002b.jpgThe Howard Bobblehead completes the NatsTown collection along with Adam Dunn. The Bobbleheads join Washington’s great slugger of the past, Howard, with the Nationals current slugger, Dunn.


When Dunn joined the Nationals in the spring it had current fans cheering and former Washington Senators fans reminiscing about the days of the former All-Star Howard. There is a striking similarity between Dunn now and Howard then, a home run hitting outfielder who came over in a deal with the Dodgers in 1965 amid much fanfare.


“Dunn has a much better strike zone than I had,” Howard said “He has much better plate presence too.”


But you could hit the ball farther… right?


“I don’t know about that.”


Both are offensive linemen by weight and basketball forwards by height but give 6’6″, 275-pound Dunn and 6’7 1/2″, 265-pound Howard a bat and they can make balls leave the ballpark in the blink of an eye.


When Howard would hit a tape measure shot into the upper deck at RFK Stadium, the team would paint the seat in honor of his herculean strength. Dunn knows little about Howard’s career in Washington, but he is well acquainted with the white seats in the upper deck.


“Someone pointed them out to me when I came through with the Reds in 2005 but I thought they were kidding me,” Dunn said. “It’s almost unfathomable that any human being could hit a ball that far.”


A fan told Frank, “I once sat in one of your white seats at RFK.”


“What were you doing way out there,” Howard responded. “Baseball isn’t meant to be watched from there.”


Howard 016b.jpgOther funny comments from Howard:


Frank Howard is 6 feet 7 and half inches tall. A person who was an even 6-foot-7… “I can still eat soup from the top of your head.”


“What is it like to have a Bobblehead as yourself,” a fan asked.


“It is nothing new,” said Howard moving his head much like his Bobblehead statue. “I have been a Bobblehead my whole life.”


On how he is feeling:


“I am on this side of the grass and I am not in the unemployment line so I am two runs up on this game. Hopefully I can continue to win.”

The Bobbleheads are Back

dunn howard 1.JPGThe 2009 NatsTown Bobbleheads have been selected for the two Saturday home games in August. The Nationals enshrined “The Capital Punisher” and slugger Adam Dunn into the Bobblehead Hall of Fame. You can get your Dunn Bobblehead August, 8th against the Arizona Diamondbacks. You can complete the coveted two-piece set two weeks later with the Frank Howard Bobblehead on August, 22nd when the Nats battle the Brewers.


The Dunn Bobblehead is him with a slight smile after he blasted a ball to souvenir city with the word “Nats” in the Washington Monument half of the DC skyline. The Howard Bobblehead is his stance with an intrepid stare before he launched a ball into the upper deck at RFK Stadium with the word “Town” in the Capital Dome half of the DC skyline.


The Bobbleheads are limited to the first 15,000 fans at each game. Purchase your tickets HERE.

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