Terry Howarth Has been a force to be reckoned with for the past seven seasons in EMSBL. As a career member of the Cardinals, Terry has lead the league in homers and won the triple crown in hitting numerous times. He is perhaps the most feared hitter in our league. And yet, Terry is one of the good guys. His disposition and on the field etiquette speak for themselves. In his own words, here is his story.
I grew up in the Baby Boomer suburbs of Southern California where there were tons of kids to play baseball with EVERYDAY.
In Oct. of 1967 I signed out of Santa Monica City College in Los Angeles after playing High School ball at Westchester High. The Philadelphia Phillies gave me $ 20,000 and said don't tell anyone how much you signed for. In those days we new nothing of the "Draft” or what round you went in etc.
They sent me to Spring Training in Clearwater, Florida. My locker was next to Bob Boone’s, one of the nicest guys I've ever met. Also in that group were Larry Bowa, Denny Doyle, Manny Trillo, Greg Luzinski, John Vukovich and many many more. Dallas Green was one of the coaches and I also worked a lot with Bob Skinner of Pittsburgh Pirates fame. They moved players around to different levels and for two days I got to play Triple A ball with Bowa, Boone and Doyle. While there I got to "Hear" what a 95 mph fastball sounded like going by. I remember that I couldn't even see it!
From Clearwater I went to the Carolina League and played for the Spartanburg Phillies in South Carolina. A couple months later I was sent to the Northwest League to play for the Eugene Emeralds in old Bethel Park, a GREAT old ballpark where the smell of hot dogs and beer permeated the plywood walls.
The Em's first game was on the road playing against the Medford Dodgers. George Foster was in left field that night. In the bottom of the ninth, score tied and their winning run on 2nd base I had my left thumb broken on a game ending close play collision at first base. That was the end of my 1968 season.
When Spring Training of 1969 started I was stuck in training at Fort Huachuca, Arizona starting my six-year stint in the Army National Guard. When I left AZ. I again played in the Northwest League but this time for the Walla Walla Bears, still in the Phillies Single A League. Eugene had become AAA when the Phillies Triple A in San Diego was forced to move because the Padres were one of the new expansion teams coming into the majors.
My third and final season ended in Clearwater when I was released by Dallas Green and the Phillies. Dallas told me not to give up. He said that they had an unusual amount of first basemen show up for Spring Training because the United States had started the Army Lottery System. Players that normally would have had to stay in school to protect their 2A draft classification drew high lottery numbers so were able to come to Spring Training. Basically the Phillies just didn't have enough teams for all the first basemen that they had so somebody had to go.
By this time in my life I had a wife and our first baby on the way. I felt so bad after being released that we just drove back to L.A. and I went to work for the Telephone Co. in 1970. In 1973 we moved back up to Eugene and bought a ranch out near Veneta. Jerry Draper introduced me to the MSBL in 1993. Our Eugene M.S.B.L. league has been a lifesaver for me. I love the league and all the players in it. It has been so nice to be able to play hardball again after 23 years away from the game. Softball just doesn't cut it.
As far as pro highlights ........... I really don't remember anything big. I was one of the league leaders in homeruns during the pre-season in Eugene in 1968 and I do remember spanking the ball pretty good in that last Spring training before I got released, but they wanted the long ball and I was hitting a lot of line drives.
The highlights in my mind are the players and coaches I got to meet along the way. Getting paid monthly to play a game that you had been playing since you were six was unbelievable. I feel very fortunate that I was given a chance even to play Professional baseball. Like Shoeless Joe Jackson said.... " I loved the game. I'd have played for food money.... I'd have played for nothing. It was the game, the parks, the smells, the sounds."