The Washington Nationals join the Howard family in mourning the loss of Washington Senators great Frank Howard. Howard’s decades-long career as a player, coach and manager leaves an indelible legacy on the sport of baseball, and he will long be remembered as one of the best players to ever wear the Curly W.
“Growing up a baseball fan in Washington D.C., Frank Howard was my hero,” said Washington Nationals Managing Principal Owner Mark D. Lerner. “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.”
Inducted into the Nationals Park Ring of Honor in 2016 for his contributions to Washington D.C. baseball, Howard hit 237 of his 382 career home runs during his seven-year tenure with the Senators from 1965-71, ranking behind only Ryan Zimmerman for most career long balls while representing Washington D.C. The Nationals’ tradition of identifying the landing spots of long or significant home runs at Nationals Park pays homage to the white seats at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial (RFK) Stadium that marked the mammoth home runs hit by Howard.
“I’d like to send my deepest condolences to the family of Frank Howard,” said Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo. “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.”
“Hondo” came to D.C. on Dec. 4, 1964, as part of a seven-player trade with the Dodgers, and a love affair between player and town began almost immediately. Teammates, media and fans alike marveled at Howard’s tape-measure home runs, many of which taunted cavernous D.C. Stadium’s dimensions.
Howard represented the Senators in four Mid-Summer Classics and led the American League in home runs twice (44 in both 1968 and ’70). “The Capital Punisher” also paced the AL in RBI (126) and walks (132) in 1970.
Howard 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).