Howard had just signed on with the Yuma Bullfrogs of the independent Western League.
"It's been a long time since I've had any of my family or friends see me play," Howard told The Sun. "The first couple of games, I might have 200-300 fans from Brawley come to Yuma. I think they're itching to see me play."
Howard's family and friends had had plenty of opportunities to see Howard over the previous decade plus, but not as close. Regardless of that, they never had the opportunity to see Howard in the majors.
Howard's long career began in 1988, taken by the Mets in the fifth round of the draft out of Imperial Valley College in California.
Howard started with the Mets at rookie Kingsport. He hit .280 in 68 games. He then moved to short-season Pittsfield and single-A Columbia for 1989. He hit .281 between them.
He returned to Columbia for 1990 and hit .385 early in the year. He finished the year at .323. and hit AA Williamsport for part of 1991. He made AAA Norfolk in 1993, but didn't see Queens.
Howard moved to Mexico for 1994 and the played for the White Sox and Red Sox at AAA for 1995. He played three seasons at independent Amarillo, moved to Taiwan and played two seasons at independent Yuma in 2001 and 2002 to end his career.
- Yuma Sun, April 28, 2001: Brawley native Howard thrilled to be a Bullfrog
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,949
Made the Majors:1,092-37.0%
Never Made Majors:1,857-63.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 453
10+ Seasons in the Minors:273-X