Washington Nationals/Senators All-Star History: The Senators' 1969 All-Star(s) Frank Howard And...Darold Knowles?

In Frank "Hondo" Howard's first All-Star appearance in 1968, the nation's capital's favorite slugger started in right field alongside the Red Sox' Carl Yastrzemski in center and the Tigers' Willie Horton in left, as the lone representative of the American League's last place team. In 1969, however, with Ted Williams at the helm in D.C., hired by then-new owner Bob Short, the Senators put together the best season the second-Senators would have, finishing 86-76 in 4th place in the AL in the first winning season in Washington since the first Senators finished 78-76 in 1952. 

Frank Howard was not alone as a Senators' All-Star in 1969, however. Joining the Capital Punisher at the Astrodome in Houston was left-handed reliever Darold Knowles, a former Baltimore Orioles' prospect who was traded to the Phillies in 1965 and acquired by the Senators in November 1966 trade that sent center fielder Don Lock to Philadelphia. Knowles, a Brunswick, Missouri-born left-hander who was then 27, was (4-1) with 4 saves and a 2.01 ERA in 24 games and 40.1 IP in which he struck out 27 (6.02 K/9) and walked 11 (2.45 BB/9) in the first-half of the 1969 season. Howard had a ridiculous 34 first-half HR's in 100 games in 1969, posting a .313/.412/.629 slash in 432 plate appearances. 

With the American League already down 3-0 on HR's off Mel Stottlemyre by Hank Aaron and Johnny Bench, Frank Howard got the AL on the board with a solo HR in the second off St. Louis' Steve Carlton. By the time the AL got up to bat again they were down 8-1, after the Oakland A's Blue Moon Odom surrendered five runs on a HR by Willie McCovey and RBI doubles by Felix Milan and the opposing pitcher, the Cardinals' Carlton. Knowles replaced Odom and got back-to-back groundouts to end the NL's third, but the game was already lost. Howard would walk in his second at bat that year, and he was replaced by a pinch runner.

Knowles, then in his fifth year, would go on to pitch in 15 more MLB seasons, but he'd never again make an All-Star appearance. Two years after he was a Senators' All-Star, Knowles would be traded to Oakland in a deal that sent him and first baseman Mike Epstein to the Oakland Athletics for C/RF Frank Fernandez, LHP Paul Lindblad, first baseman Don Mincher and cash. Knowles would retire in 1980 at the age of 38 as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals

Frank Howard would go on to make two more All-Star appearances for Washington, his last in 1971, the last season for the second-Senators in D.C. Howard's name is synonymous with Washington baseball. Darold Knowles? He may not be remembered alongside the greats of D.C. baseball history, but in 1969 he was an All-Star reliever, and his 0.2 scoreless innings pitched are part of baseball history in the nation's capital and a part of baseball's record books. 

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