Wednesday, July 25, 2012

#404 - Jim Howarth

This is the second and final card of Jim Howarth’s career. Jim came along at a tough time to be an outfielder for the Giants. With contemporaries named Bonds, Maddox, and Matthews he wasn’t going to get much of a chance up top  unless he could hit over .300 with 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBI’s and things didn’t really roll that way. So Jim spent ’73 backing up in center field, a role he also played in ’72. So it was good that he did a nice job at an early age preparing for life after baseball.

Jim Howarth grew up in Biloxi, Mississippi, where he played football and baseball in high school and his senior year in ’65 led his team to the state championship in the latter sport. He then went to Mississippi State where he stuck to baseball and in his junior year of ’68 hit .351 and was all-conference. He was drafted by the Giants that spring and put up a pretty good average in A ball. He then spent the next two seasons in Double A where he put up some nice fielding numbers. The next year he lost some time to the military but got elevated a level and pushed his average up over 100 points with a .428 OBA. He debuted for the Giants that September but missed out on any post-season action.

In ’74 Howarth got into a few games for the Giants as a late-inning guy and spent most of the season back in Triple A where he hit .242 in 51 games which ended things. He finished with a .220 average up top and a .271 average in the minors. By the time he debuted for the Giants he had returned to finish his degree in accounting and while playing interned in commercial banking in the off-season. He returned to the Biloxi area and has been in banking since, his most recent position being Senior VP of retail sales for Hancock Bank.

Jim gets star bullets for some minor league accomplishments – not too surprising – and has about the most predictive cartoon so far in the set.

Given this relatively short post, it’s a good one to get caught up in music news. On July 18, 1973 Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band begins a six-night stay at Max’s Kansas City opening for Bob Marley and the Wailers in Greenwich Village. It is the first set of gigs for Bruce that gets him significant media attention regarding the energy and durability of his live act. On July 21 new Number One’s top the charts in the US and the UK. In the States, Jim Croce’s “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” gets the title and in the UK “Welcome Home” by Peters and Lee starts a one-week run. A guy/girl group, the guy - I assume Peters – appears to be blind and could be anywhere from about 25 to 50 years old. The tune is a syrupy love song that would have been perfect on one of those variety shows so popular back then and was a good miss from the US charts.

Again we do the double, starting with Darrell Johnson as a manager:

1. Howarth and Juan Marichal ’71 to ’73 Giants;
2. Marichal was managed by Darrell Johnson on the ’74 Red Sox.

Now for Johnson as a player:

1. Howarth and Tito Fuentes ’71 to ‘73 Giants;
2. Fuentes and Ollie Brown ’65 to ’67 Giants;
3. Ollie Brown and Tony Gonzalez ’69 Padres;
4. Gonzalez and Darrell Johnson ’61 Phillies.

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