Wilbur Howard

Wilbur Leon Howard is an American former Major League Baseball outfielder. During a 6-year baseball career, he played for the Milwaukee Brewers (1973) and the Houston Astros (1974–1978).

Howard was selected in the 19th round of the 1969 Major League Baseball Draft by the Seattle Pilots, who would move to Milwaukee and become the Brewers after the season. Howard played in the Brewers organization for the next four seasons, getting a September call-up in 1973, when he batted .205 in 39 at bats. The following spring, he was traded to the Houston Astros in exchange for the star-crossed Larry Yount and another minor leaguer.

Howard started the 1974 season in the minor leagues, but was called up in mid-June, spending the rest of the season as the Astros' fourth outfielder. In 1975, he remained in that role, although the Astros rotated their other outfielders (Greg Gross, César Cedeño, and José Cruz) out of the lineup often enough that Howard played in 121 games, batting .283 with 32 stolen bases, which was eighth in the league and second on the team to Cedeño's 50.

In 1976, however, manager Bill Virdon moved Howard back into a more traditional fourth outfielder role, and he continued to serve in that capacity for three seasons. After spending 1979 in the minor leagues with the Charleston Charlies, Howard called it quits.

By Dean Hanley

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