WHITESTONE, NY – Two icons passed away recently, and may they rest in peace for eternity.
Bobby Knight, the famed Indiana basketball coach, and Frank Howard, the ultimate baseball man. The controversial Knight, who had his share of temper tantrums, couldn’t have been nicer to me and my two nephews when we saw him at Yankee Stadium. The only basketball conversation “The General” had with me was a story of a great High School b-baller who could have made it to the NBA if he focused more on it. The player was Derek Jeter.
Frank Howard was a baseball player, coach, manager, and a good guy. He was such a bad-ass when he swung a bat, that three nicknames were instilled upon him. He was known as “Hondo,” “The Washington Monument,” and “The Capital Punisher.”
The 1960 Los Angeles Dodgers Rookie of the Year left his mark as a slugger for the Washington Senators. He was the last to homer for the Senators – in their game before relocating to Texas as the Rangers franchise. He also was the first Ranger to go yard.
Back in 2014 he was inducted into the Ted Williams Hall of Fame, which was located inside of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. His knowledge of all sports was off the hook. I put him on the phone with Hank Steinbrenner, and after accepting Hank’s congratulations, Howard conversed with him for another twenty minutes. He howled with laughter when I told him, “Man, I’m glad the phone rate wasn’t a dollar a minute like it was back in the days.” He was a Gentle Giant, and a reminder of what the game needs in its dugouts today.
Both Howard’s and Knight’s passion for their trade is what’s missing in today’s sports.
Drop a dime below and come back tomorrow for “Shake-N-Jake” Sternberg.