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Dick Howser

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Title: Dick Howser  
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Subject: Kansas City Royals, George Brett, 1985 Kansas City Royals season, Lou Piniella, John Wathan
Collection: 1936 Births, 1987 Deaths, All-American College Baseball Players, American League All-Stars, Baseball Players from Florida, Cancer Deaths in Missouri, Cleveland Indians Players, College Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees, Deaths from Brain Tumor, Florida State Seminoles Baseball Coaches, Florida State Seminoles Baseball Players, Kansas City Athletics Players, Kansas City Royals Managers, Major League Baseball Coaches, Major League Baseball Managers, Major League Baseball Managers with Retired Numbers, Major League Baseball Third Base Coaches, New York Yankees Coaches, New York Yankees Managers, New York Yankees Players, New York Yankees Scouts, Sportspeople from Miami, Florida
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Dick Howser

Dick Howser
Howser at the White House in 1985
Shortstop / Manager
Born: (1936-05-14)May 14, 1936
Miami, Florida
Died: June 17, 1987(1987-06-17) (aged 51)
Kansas City, Missouri
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 11, 1961, for the Kansas City Athletics
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1968, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
Batting average .248
Hits 617
Runs batted in 165
Teams

As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Richard Dalton Howser (May 14, 1936 – June 17, 1987) was an American Major League Baseball shortstop, coach and manager. He is best known as the manager of the Kansas City Royals during the 1980s, and for guiding them to the franchise's first World Series title in 1985.

Contents

  • Playing career 1
  • Managerial career 2
    • New York Yankees 2.1
    • Kansas City Royals 2.2
    • 1986 Major League Baseball All-Star Game 2.3
    • Managerial record 2.4
  • Death 3
    • Tributes 3.1
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Playing career

A native of Miami, Florida, Howser grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida, graduated from Palm Beach High School and attended college at Florida State University. He was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. At Florida State, he received honors twice as an All-American shortstop and set a school record with a batting average of .422 in 1956. Signed by the Kansas City Athletics, he hit .280, stole 37 bases, scored 108 runs, and led American League shortstops in putouts and errors in his rookie season. For this he was selected to the 1961 All-Star team, and was named The Sporting News rookie of the year.

As his stats declined in the following two years, his only other season as a regular was with the Cleveland Indians in 1964. His major league career spanned eight seasons with three (3) clubs - Kansas City Athletics, Cleveland Indians, and New York Yankees.

Managerial career

Immediately following his playing career, he was the third base coach with the Yankees for ten seasons (1969–78). He then spent one year (1979) as head baseball coach at his alma mater, Florida State.

As a manager at the major league level, Howser was highly successful, never finishing lower than second place during his seven-year managerial career.

New York Yankees

He made his debut in 1978, managing one game with the Yankees between Billy Martin's and Bob Lemon's first tours as skipper in the Bronx. In 1980, he returned from Florida State to become a full-time manager of the Yanks, taking them to the AL Eastern Division championship with a 103–59 record, but losing three consecutive games to the Kansas City Royals in the playoffs.

Howser was one of the few Yankee managers who refused to let owner Reggie Jackson would skirt around from time to time in 1980. Howser, thinking it was unimportant with the year Reggie was having, refused to correct Jackson, but Jackson later relented and shaved out of respect for Howser. Also, whenever Steinbrenner would call the manager's office before or after games while Howser was meeting with coaches or reporters, Howser would pick up the phone, say "I'm busy!", and hang up.

Steinbrenner, however, got the last word. In Game 2 of the 1980 ALCS, Yankee third base coach profanities on live national television. Steinbrenner wanted Ferraro fired on the spot after the game, but Howser refused. The Yankees would go on to lose the ALCS in three games, and Steinbrenner fired Howser shortly after that.

In the 2007 ESPN produced mini-series The Bronx Is Burning, Howser was portrayed by actor Max Casella.

Kansas City Royals

Howser (to left of podium) presents President Ronald Reagan with a Royals jacket, hat, and bat at the White House after their World Series victory.

The next year, Kansas City, his postseason rival on multiple occasions in previous seasons, hired Howser to manage the last 33 games of the strike-shortened 1981 season. Under Howser, the Royals finished second in 1982 and 1983. Prior to the 1984 season, their clubhouse ravaged by drug problems, the Royals started disassembling their team and starting over. Kansas City expected 1984 to be a rebuilding year, but Howser guided the young team to a division title. The Royals were defeated by the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series, three games to none.

The following year Howser guided the Royals to their first World Series title. The Royals reached the World Series by defeating the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Championship Series, which was Toronto's first postseason appearance. The Royals then went on to defeat the heavily favored St. Louis Cardinals. In both the ALCS and World Series, the Royals won each series by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to take the last 3 games.

1986 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

As manager of the defending AL champions, the Kansas City Royals, Howser managed the 1986 All-Star Game at the Astrodome in Houston. Broadcasters noticed he was messing up signals when he changed pitchers, and Howser later admitted he felt sick before the game. It was the last game he would manage in the major leagues, as he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent surgery. Howser guided the AL to a 3–2 victory, starting a 25-year stretch that has seen the junior circuit go 19–5–1 in the Mid-Summer Classic after going 2–21 from 1963 through 1985.

Managerial record

Team From To Regular season record Post–season record
W L Win % W L Win %
New York Yankees 1978 1978 0 1 .000
New York Yankees 1980 1980 103 59 .636 0 3 .000
Kansas City Royals 1981 1986 404 365 .525 8 12 .400
Total 507 425 .544 8 15 .348
Reference: [1]

Death

Howser attempted a comeback during spring training of 1987 with Kansas City, but quickly found he was physically too weak and abandoned the attempt in late February, when Billy Gardner took over. Three months later, he died[2] in St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, and was buried in Tallahassee, Florida. His death was caused by a brain tumor. Two pitchers from his 1981 Royals team later died of brain cancer: Dan Quisenberry in 1998 and Ken Brett in 2003.

Tributes

Howser's managerial number 10 was retired by the Royals alongside Frank White.
Dick Howser's number 10 was retired by the Kansas City Royals in 1987.

On July 3, 1987, Howser's number 10 became the first number retired by the Kansas City Royals. Also in that year, the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce established the Dick Howser Trophy, college baseball's equivalent of college football's Heisman Trophy, in Howser's honor.

Florida State University's baseball team plays on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium, named in his honor, and he is honored with a bronze bust on the stadium grounds.

The Royals also commissioned a new bronze statue for their Outfield Experience to cap off the end of Kauffman Stadium renovations in 2009. The statue was revealed in a dedication ceremony on Opening Day, April 10, 2009.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Dick Howser". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved September 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ Dick Howser dies at 51; Ex-Manager of Royals

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
  • Dick Howser managerial career statistics at Baseball-Reference.com
  • MLB Network Remembers Howser
  • Dick Howser at Find a Grave
Preceded by
Frankie Crosetti
New York Yankees third base coach
1969–1978
Succeeded by
Mike Ferraro
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