NEW YORK, NY – There’s a player on the NY Knicks who’s bloodlines bleed baseball royalty. Newly-acquired shooting guard Josh Hart happens to be the great nephew of Yankees legend Elston Howard. Josh’s father, Moses, was Howard’s nephew.
Elston’s number 32 has got to be the most underappreciated retired number out of all numbers that the Yankees have put out of circulation. Forget the fact that he was the first black human being to wear Yankee pinstripes and he was the first black Most Valuable Player in the American League. Elston was one great damn baseball player.
Since Hart’s arrival, the Knicks have been on a tear as they remain in the playoff hunt. Call it hereditary, as his great uncle helped the Yankees win four World Series. Howard also helped get the Boston Red Sox, who he played with in 1967-68, to the Fall Classic. They fell to the St. Louis Cardinals, who had their own ex-Yankee, Roger Maris,who also had his number 9 retired up in the Bronx.
Elston was a quiet leader whose presence commanded respect. He would become the Yankees first base coach during their Bronx Zoo years. He was also a peace maker during that 1978 national televised game when then manager Billy Martin went after his own player, Reggie Jackson, after replacing him during an inning for what Martin referred to as non-hustling. There was Elston in the middle of the melee, as he held back Martin from a possible whooping from Jackson… or vice-versa.
Another fact about Josh’s great uncle is he was the inventor of the bat weight known as “The Donut”.
What Josh needs to do is look up into the rafters at Madison Square Garden and see the banners with the retired numbers of his Knicks team. Then he needs to hop on the D-Train and get off at the Yankee Stadium stop, where his great uncle played. A walk to the old grounds of where the original stadium was located has been renamed Elston Howard Field. The new Knick needs to stand at home plate of where his famed relative once stood. His second stop should be Monument Park which is located over the wall in centerfield. While there Josh needs to read his great uncle’s plaque and stare at his number 32.
After he soaks it all in from the historic cathedral up in the Bronx, Josh needs to go back to The Mecca, where his team calls home. He needs to seek out the equipment manager and turn in his uniform number 3 for number 32.
Honor thy great uncle and make it a point to have your cousin, Cheryl Howard, who was Elston’s daughter, sing the National Anthem at a future game. She’s sang the Star Spangled Banner at the stadium, so let her complete it at the world’s famous arena. Hart’s contributions can eventually win a few championships at the Garden, which can lead to his number 32 to be hung from the rafters one day.
Maybe then the people will acknowledge what a great Yankee that Hart’s great-uncle was.