Wednesday, May 12, 2010
#279) MIKE HOWARD
Mike Howard was selected from the Los Angeles Dodgers by the New York Mets in the minor league portion of the 1978 Rule V Draft. The switch-hitting outfielder would spend the first years with the organization playing for the Jackson (AA) and Tidewater (AAA) clubs. He made his major league debut as a Met on September 12, 1981. Mike delivered a double to left field, in his first big league at-bat, during the 4-2 loss to the Cardinals in St. Louis that day.
Howard would bounce back and forth between New York and the Tidewater Tides during the two seasons to follow. Collecting a total of 48 games in the major leagues. The last of which was Opening Day of the 1983 season. The contest marked the return of Tom Seaver to New York, and Mike was the starting right fielder. He drove in the first run off of Steve Carlton in a 2-0 win against the Philadelphia Phillies. It was Howard's last game in the major leagues.
The Mets returned him to Tidewater for a time. Then the decision was made to convert Mike into a catcher. To learn the new position he was sent all the way back to the Mets' Gulf Coast League team in the Rookie League. Howard hit for a .316 batting average, but the 26 year-old was in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization the following season.
Mike Howard signed his card in the set for my friend Nick, of the Mets Underground on May 5, 2010.