Rangers got it right with Howell
Club's first-ever pick played 11 big-league seasons
ARLINGTON -- The Washington Senators' move to Arlington was approved for the 1972 season on Sept. 20, 1971. The first No. 1 Draft pick of the new Texas Rangers was Roy Howell, a third baseman from Lompoc, Calif.Born in December 1953, Howell was 18 when he was chosen fourth overall by the Rangers in the 1972 First-Year Player Draft and saw his first Major League action on Sept. 19, 1974. With current Seattle Mariners manager Mike Hargrove batting third, Howell was 2-for-3 in the No. 8 spot during his debut against the California Angels. Arguably one of the biggest steals of the same draft, the Rangers got Hargrove in the 25th round. Wearing No. 13 for most of his career, Howell played 11 seasons in the Major Leagues with stops in Texas, Toronto and Milwaukee. He was traded to the Blue Jays in 1977 for Steve Hargan, Jim Mason and $200,000. Hargan, a starter for the Rangers from 1974-76, pitched only 29 1/3 innings for Toronto before making his way back to Arlington. He would only throw 12 2/3 more innings for Texas after the transaction. Jim Mason -- drafted by the Senators in 1968 -- hit below .200 in 239 at-bats following the trade. Not known as a power threat, Howell's best seasons offensively were spent north of the border from 1977-80 when he had 43 home runs, 101 doubles and 234 RBIs for the Blue Jays over those four seasons and earned a spot on the 1978 American League All-Star Team. He then signed with Milwaukee as a free agent in 1980. On a team led by Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and Don Sutton, Howell experienced one trip to the World Series in 1982 with the Brewers, losing in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals. Howell hit .261 for his career with 80 home runs and 454 RBIs. The 30-year-old Howell signed on with the San Francisco Giants in 1985, but he was cut prior to the season. Howell was hired as the manager of the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League in 2003, the short-season Class A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. Before taking the job with Eugene, he was the hitting coach for San Diego's Triple-A Portland Beavers for two seasons.
D.C. Reeves is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.