The day Frank Howard led off

With Cody Bellinger leading off tonight, David Young wondered if he was the tallest lead off hitter in Dodger history. He found that Ex-Dodger Frank Howard had once led off but it wasn’t as a Dodger it was with the Senators.  Big Hondo was 6’7 and a mountain of a man.

Once David posted that info my old mind kicked into gear and I vaguely remembered the reason. I lived in Alexandria, VA at the time and the Senators were my adopted team. I felt it had something to do with the home run race so I popped over to Baseball Reference to see if my memory was functioning for once.

It was.  In 1969 on the morning of Oct 1st, both Frank Howard and Harmon Killebrew had 48 home runs.  The Twins were playing the White Sox in a day game on Wednesday Afternoon. Killebrew hit his 49th home run in the first inning.

Ted Williams had Frank Howard lead off so that he could get more at-bats to try to hit his 49th home run.  Hondo came up empty and for the Senators that was the last game of the year.  The Twins still had one more game but Killebrew went hitless on Oct 2nd.

1969 was the year of the home run with seven players hitting forty or more home runs.

Player             HR Year Age  Tm   OPS    Pos
Harmon Killebrew   49 1969  33 MIN 1.011   *5*3
Frank Howard       48 1969  32 WSA  .976 *73/9H
Reggie Jackson     47 1969  23 OAK 1.018  *98/H
Willie McCovey     45 1969  31 SFG 1.108   *3/H
Hank Aaron         44 1969  35 ATL 1.003  *9/3H
Rico Petrocelli    40 1969  26 BOS  .992   *6/5
Carl Yastrzemski   40 1969  29 BOS  .870  *73/8

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/26/2017.

Frank Howard led MLB in home runs in 1968 and 1970 with 44 home runs but came in 2nd in 1969 when he blasted 48.

The American League was loaded in 1969 but it was the Mets who found history by defeating the Orioles in the World Series.  The Orioles had won 109 games and swept a powerful Twin team.  It was a shocker then and still a shocker now when I think back to that World Series.

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1 Comment

  1. 68elcamino427

    FRANK HOWARD & Ted Williams

    A mythic baseball combo

    Like

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