February 23: Baseball Legend Elston Howard Was Born on This Date in 1929

0 Posted by - February 23, 2022 - Birthdays, On This Date, SPORTS

By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: The Bergen Record

Elston Gene Howard (pictured) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 23, 1929. Howard was a catcher and left fielder in the American professional baseball league.

From 1948 until 1968, he played in the Negro leagues and Major League Baseball over a 14-year career. Howard is most known for his work with the New York Yankees. He was a 12-time All-Star with the Kansas City Monarchs and the Boston Red Sox. From 1969 until 1979, Howard was a member of the Yankees’ coaching staff.

He was the Yankees’ first African American player in 1955. This was eight years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball in 1947. For the 1963 pennant champions, Howard was voted the American League’s (AL) Most Valuable Player. He ranked third in the league in batting average and sixth in home runs that season.

As a result, he became the league’s first black player to receive the accolade.

In 1963 and 1964, Howard received Gold Glove Awards. He set AL records for putouts and total chances in the later season. From 1967 to 1973, his.993 career fielding percentage as a catcher set a big-league record. He retired as an AL career leader in putouts (7th, 6,447) and total chances (7th, 6,447). (9th, 6,977).

On December 14, 1980,  Howard died at the age of 51 in New York City, New York.

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