The first Black Yankee, Elston Howard


Elston Howard
Date: 
Sat, 1929-02-23

*Elston Howard was born on this date in 1929. He was an African American baseball player.

From St. Louis, he graduated from Vashon High School where he starred in baseball, track, football and basketball. In 1948, at age nineteen the future New York Yankees' star played three seasons in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs. He was not an outfielder when he joined the Monarchs, Howard was a catcher, but after working behind the plate on the night he was shifted to the outfield to bolster a wobbly garden defense, and immediately became a match.

He posted batting averages of.283,.270, and.319 while hitting with good power. In 1950 he also played in organized baseball with Muskegon in the Central League and hit.283 for the last half of the season. After two years of military service he joined Kansas City in the American Association, where he hit.286. In 1954, with Toronto in the International League, he hit.330 with 22 homers, 21 doubles, and a league-leading 16 triples. The next season he went up to the Yankees, and for the next 13 years he was one of their most indispensable players.

His best years were 1961, when he hit.348 with 21 homers, and 1963, when he hit.287 with 28 homers and 85 RBIs. The first Black man to play for the New York Yankees, Howard was also the first black man to win the American League MVP award, (1963). Although an all-time Yankees favorite, he ended his major-league career in 1968 with the Boston Red Sox, finishing with a.274 lifetime major-league batting average. Elston Howard died December 14th 1980. His wife Arlene Howard who resides in Teaneck, New Jersey and daughter Cheryl survives him.

Reference:
The Negro Baseball Leagues A Photographic History
By Phil Dixon with Patrick J. Hannigan
Copyright 1992, Jed Clauss and Joanna Paulsen
Ameron House Publishing
ISBN 0-88488-0425-2

20th Century Baseball Chronicle
Year-By-Year History of Major League baseball
Copyright 1999, Publications International Ltd.
ISBN 0-7853-4074-2

To become a Professional Athlete

Person / name: 

Howard, Elston