Frank Howard was as tall as a redwood, and as strong as an ox. He stood 6' 7", and was said to have operated a 100-lbs jackhammer at the age of 14. Having been drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors basketball club, the Dodgers signed him to a amateur free agent contract in 1958. He made an immediate impression.
As a minor leaguer he overpowered the competition. During that first season in 1958, Howard belted 37 home runs and OPS'd .971. The next year he did even better with 43 homers and 1.032 OPS. Frank Howard would be named the Minor League Player of the Year by The Sporting News that year.
Comparisons to Babe Ruth came hot and heavy. He had the size and the power to be one of the best. No doubt, the Dodgers brass were salivating at the thought.
In 1960, he supplanted Carl Furillo in right field and won Rookie of the Year honors. Unfortunately, an early injury the next season slowed his progress. Then, his lack of discipline at the plate became his undoing. Even after getting glasses in 1963 he couldn't stop the whiffs. He continued to be one of the league leaders in being struck out, and saw his playing time diminish as a result.
After the 1964 season, Frank Howard was traded to the Washington Senators to play under former Dodger Gil Hodges. He said this about the trade:
“Disappointed in the trade? Oh, no,” recalled Howard. “I knew it was time. I was at the stage of my life where I had to find out if I could play every day.”He would soon find out that he could play every day. In 8 season in the Senators franchise, he belted 246 home runs, 701 RBI's, batted .277 and OPS'd .870. Frank Howard would win 2 home run titles, lead the league in total bases twice and RBI's once. After a talk with Ted Williams, he started taking more walks and had his most productive seasons yet. He went from 54 walks one season to 102 the next. Soon, he would become one of the highest paid player in game, and become one of the most popular. They even built a statue for him at Nationals Park.
Below are complete scans of every page from Frank Howard's 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet. Click any pic to embiggen.
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