Howard, nicknamed Hondo, or the Capital Punisher, hit 237 career homers in a curly-W, with the big, hard-hitting slugger and one-time Senators’ manager Ted Williams joking that while those white seats were indicators of Hondo’s legendary power, the other seats represented all the times he struck out.
The humble, 6’7’’, 255 lb giant, whose history and impact in the nation’s capital reverberated long after he and the Senators left for Texas, died yesterday, at 87 years of age.
“Growing up a baseball fan in Washington D.C., Frank Howard was my hero,” Washington Nationals’ Managing Principal Owner Mark D. Lerner said in a press release on Howard’s passing:
“The towering home runs he hit into the stands at RFK Stadium gave him the nickname ‘Capital Punisher,’ but I’ll always remember him as a kind and gentle man.
“The entire Lerner family would like to offer our thoughts and condolences to Frank’s family during this difficult time. The world of baseball has truly lost a giant.”
Howard’s 237 career home runs while with the Senators rank behind only Ryan Zimmerman (and his 284) for most career long balls while representing Washington D.C., and to this day, he still, “... holds the Washington D.C. baseball record for most home runs in a season (48), most consecutive games with a home run (6), and highest career slugging percentage (.513),” as the club noted.
“I’d like to send my deepest condolences to the family of Frank Howard,” Nationals’ GM and President of Baseball Ops Mike Rizzo said on Monday.
“Frank was a legendary figure in this town and a player that D.C. baseball fans truly admired.
“I had the utmost respect for him both as a ballplayer and as a human being, and it was always a pleasure seeing him at Nationals Park. He was generous with his time and was never afraid to pass along his knowledge and wisdom. He will be missed.”