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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Thomas Howard made it over 11 major league seasons, six organizations

Thomas Howard 1990 ProCards card, Howard smiling with the field in the background

With two outs in the ninth inning of this May 1994 Reds game, Thomas Howard singled - and then tried to turn it into a double, The Associated Press wrote.

"If I make it, I might be the hero," Howard told The AP afterward. "I just didn't make it."

If he made it, Howard would have been the potential tying run, and he would have been in scoring position. Instead, Howard got thrown out, ending the game and the Reds' hopes of coming back.

Howard, though, had made it in another sense. He first made it to the majors four years earlier, and he'd become a regular.

Before he was done, Howard had time in a total of 11 major league seasons, getting into more than 1,000 big league games.

Howard's career began in 1986, taken by the Padres in the first round of the draft out of Ball State University.

Howard played his first year between short-season Spokane and single-A Reno. Between them, he hit .288. His first stop was Spokane. There, he told The Spokane Spokesman-Review he wasn't looking ahead.

"I just want to get off to a good start," Howard told The Spokesman-Review that June. "If I move up, I move up. If I don't, I'd love to stay here and work on the adjustments I need to make."

Howard made it to Reno that year, then to AA Wichita for 1987 and AAA Las Vegas in 1988. It hten took him until 1990 to make San Diego.

With the Padres in 1990, Howard debuted in July and got into 20 games. He hit .273. He then returned to San Diego for 1991, becoming a regular. In 106 games that year, he hit .249. Howard also had a five-RBI game in September.

In early 1992, the Padres sent Howard to the Indians. The outfielder increased his average to .277 that year. Howard stayed with the Indians into mid-1993, when he moved to the Reds in another trade.

Howard got three full seasons with the Reds, hitting .302 in 1995. In 1996, he hit .272 and helped his team over his old team, the Padres, in an August game, hitting a triple, The AP wrote.

"I get up a little extra for the Padres," Howard told The AP after that game. "Teams you get traded from, it seems you always get ready for them. I played with a lot of those guys in the minor leagues, so they know where to play me and what I like to do. So it's a challenge to get hits against those guys."

Howard moved to the Astros in 1997, getting his second of two playoff appearances. His first came with the Reds in 1995.

Howard got 47 games with the Dodgers in 1998. He then finished out his career with two seasons with the Cardinals, getting into his final major league game in 2000.
Thomas Howard 1990 ProCards card, Howard smiling with the field in the background
1990 CMC-Pro Cards Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:1,615
Made the Majors: 790 - 48.9%-X
Never Made Majors: 825-51.1%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 344-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:201

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