Frank Howard, the first Texas Rangers player to ever hit a home run at Arlington Stadium, died on Monday.
He was 87.
“Hondo” was one of the greatest players in the history of the Washington-Texas franchise. He batted. .279 with 237 home runs and 670 RBIs in 1,077 games in Washington from 1965-71. Then the Senators moved to Texas, he hit the first home run at Arlington Stadium on April 21, 1972.
The Rangers released a press release on Monday, announcing the death of the oldest living player from the Senators. The release, in part, read:
“Hondo” was arguably the top player in the history of the expansion Washington Senators and one of Major League Baseball’s top sluggers of the 1960’s. From 1965-71, he batted .279 with 237 homers and 670 RBI in 1077 games with Washington. He is the all-time expansion Senators (1961-71) leader in batting average, runs (516), hits (1071), doubles (146), homers, RBI, walks (533), on-base percentage (.368), and slugging (.513). He was an A.L. All-Star in four consecutive seasons from 1968-71.
Known for his titanic home runs, Mr. Howard led the American League with 44 homers in both 1968 and 1971 while hitting a career best 48 long balls in 1969. He also led the league with 126 RBI and 132 walks in 1970. It was only fitting that Mr. Howard hit the final homer in Senators’ history on September 30, 1971 against the New York Yankees at R.F.K. Stadium.
Frank Howard was a bigger than life personality who was very popular with his teammates and the fans in Washington and Texas. The Rangers extend their deepest condolences to Mr. Howard’s family and friends. He will be greatly missed.
Howard batted .244 with 9 homers and 31 RBI for the Rangers in 1972 before he was traded to Detroit.
During his 16-year MLB career, he hit 382 home runs and drove in 1,119 runs. He was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 1960.as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He won a World Series ring with the Dodgers in 1963.
He also was a long-time manager (San Diego, 1981; New York Mets, 1983) and coach (seven franchises).