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James Earl Ray Gets 99 Years for Killing King; Angels Want Ex-Dodger, March 11, 1969

March 11, 2009 |  8:00 am
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"It was the first time I ever killed a man in hand-to-hand combat," Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Joe Hooper says.
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Photograph by Larry Sharkey / Los Angeles Times

Frank Howard, Oct. 19. 1963

1969_0311_frank_howard_2 The Angels tried to pull off a blockbuster trade for a big hitter. A very big hitter.

Former Dodger Frank Howard was holding out for a new deal after leading the American League in home runs. So new Angels general manager Dick Walsh, also a former Dodger, put together a package of players for the Washington Senators to consider. He even added $100,000 to his offer of catcher Tom Satriano, outfielder Vic Davalillo, pitcher Clyde Wright and a choice of Roger Repoz, Chuck Hinton or Chuck Cottier.

Howard, who was listed at 6-7, obviously was a towering presence at the plate. He came up with the Dodgers at the start of their Los Angeles years and was the National League's rookie of the year in 1960, but was traded to Washington in 1964. Pitcher Claude Osteen was the key player sent to the Dodgers.

What kind of deal was Howard looking for after hitting 44 home runs in 1968? According to The Times, Howard wanted a three-year contract for $100,000 a year but would settle for one year at $125,000.

There was speculation that new Washington Manager Ted Williams would want Howard to change his batting stance despite leading the league in home runs. Asked what he would do with Howard on the Angels, Manager Bill Rigney told The Times' Ross Newhan, "If I were to say anything now it would be construed as tampering. No, indeed, there is no reason ever, anywhere, to tamper with Howard."

The trade to the Angels never happened -- Howard hit 48 home runs for the Senators in 1969 and 44 in 1970. Walsh eventually acquired another former Dodger from the Senators, Ken McMullen, who had been one of the Dodgers traded with Howard to Washington in 1964.

Howard might not have been a big difference -- pun intended -- for the Angels and he might not have hit as many home runs in Anaheim. But he certainly would have brought some excitement to Angels teams that were pretty miserable in the pre-Nolan Ryan years. Just ask the few of us who regularly attended Anaheim Stadium in the late 1960s.

-- Keith Thursby

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