March 1, 1921|
|Died: October 9, 1955
San Antonio, Texas
|September 28, 1944, for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 25, 1954, for the Baltimore Orioles|
|Earned run average||4.33|
Howard Francis Fox (March 1, 1921 – October 9, 1955) was a pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) who played for three teams between the 1944 and 1954 seasons. Listed at 6' 3", 210 lb., Fox batted and threw right-handed. The year after his last major league appearance, Fox owned a tavern in San Antonio while he pitched for a minor league team there. He was stabbed to death following a disturbance at his establishment.
Fox was born in Coburg, Oregon. He played baseball and basketball at the University of Oregon. A World War II veteran, Fox was signed by the Cincinnati Reds as a free agent in 1943. He played for a Pioneer League team in Ogden, Utah, in 1943, followed by stints with minor league teams in Birmingham and Syracuse.
Major league career
A hard thrower with a sharp curveball, he entered the majors in 1945 with the Reds, playing seven years before joining the Philadelphia Phillies (1952) and Baltimore Orioles (1954). His most productive season came in 1950 for Cincinnati, when he went 11–8, a year after his 6–19 record gave him the most losses of any pitcher in the major leagues. In 1951, he collected nine victories with a 3.83 ERA in a career-high 228 innings, but got 14 losses.
Before the 1952 season, Fox was dealt to Philadelphia in a seven-player transaction that included Smoky Burgess, Niles Jordan, Eddie Pellagrini, Connie Ryan, Andy Seminick and Dick Sisler. In 1953, he played for Triple-A Baltimore, and a year later pitched his last season, for the Orioles.
In nine major league seasons, Fox posted a 43–72 record with 342 strikeouts and a 4.33 ERA in 248 appearances, including 132 starts, 42 complete games, five shutouts, six saves, and 1,108⅓ innings of work. A good-hitting pitcher, he was used to pinch-hit periodically. In 253 games he hit .189 with two home runs and 25 RBI.
Fox also played in the Venezuelan Winter League (1953–55) and in the 1954 Caribbean Series. In the Venezuelan Winter League, he was pitching for Pastora when popular player Luis Aparicio, Sr. of Gavilanes took himself out of a 1953 game and allowed his son, Luis Aparicio, to pinch hit for his first professional baseball at bat. The younger Aparicio became a star MLB player and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
While he was a minor league pitcher in the Texas League for the San Antonio Missions in 1955, Fox purchased a San Antonio tavern. That October, he was attempting to kick three men out of the bar and a struggle ensued in front of the business. Fox was stabbed three times and he died as he was trying to crawl back to the door of the establishment. A San Antonio College student, John Strickland, was arrested and two other men were held as material witnesses. Strickland was charged with murder with malice and another man was indicted on an aggravated assault charge in the stabbing injury of Fox's bartender.
- Marazzi, Richard; Fiorito, Len (2004). Baseball players of the 1950s : A biographical dictionary of all 1,560 major leaguers. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., Publishers. p. 118. ISBN 0786446889. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
- "Former major league hurler, Howie Fox, murdered". Milwaukee Journal. October 8, 1955. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
- Landino, Leonte. "Luis Aparicio". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
- Howie Fox stabbed to death. Telegraph Herald. October 9, 1955. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
- 2 indictments issued in Howie Fox stabbing. The Victoria Advocate. January 27, 1956. Retrieved February 3, 2016.