TODAY IN BASEBALL TAKES US BACK TO FORT MYERS, FLORIDA ON FEBRUARY 23, 1987. Kansas City Royals manager Dick Howser gave it all he could, but on this date in 1987 was forced to tell his players they would have to go on without him. Howser had been diagnosed with brain cancer the previous summer. He underwent two unsuccessful operations to remove a malignant tumor.
Dick Howser guided the Royals to their only, up till that point, World Series championship in 1985.
Howser hadn’t filled out a lineup card since the 1986 all-star game. Observers noticed during that game that he didn’t seem as sharp as he normally was. It would be the last game Dick Howser ever managed.
Jump forward to this date in 1987. He put the uniform on for the first time since that all-star game just two days earlier. It was the first day of spring training. The uniform didn’t fit. He looked tired and weak. Two days later, according to the Associated Press (AP) he said, “It’s just that I need more time to rest. I can’t do it like this.” He didn’t get better. Howser died three months later, June 17, 1987.
Dick Howser guided the Royals to their only, up till that point, World Series championship in 1985. In five full seasons as a manager, and parts of three others, his teams never finished lower than second place.
Besides the Royals, he managed the New York Yankees for one full season and part of another. The Florida State University graduate had an eight-year playing career, winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1961. He played for the Royals, Cleveland Indians and Yankees. Dick Howser gave it all he could. He was 51 when he died.