Howard was one of the earliest Bedford Countians to make the major leagues. He was born in Everett in 1893, and he developed a love for baseball. Along with the love was the ability to play the game well.
Word of his skill reached outside the county as he was recruited by Gettysburg College coach Ira Plank, the brother of Hall of Famer Eddie Plank. In 1915 Howard played for Gettysburg College and then continued to play for Plank on the pro team Gettysburg Patriots.
The 6-1,160-pounder threw well for the Patriots, striking out 160 in 28 starts with a 10-14 record. One of those games was an impressive 18-inning complete game win over the Frederick Huskies, 2-1. In that game he fanned a league record 18 batters.
Word of Howard's play reached the Denver Bears of the Class A Western League who drafted Howard off the Gettysburg roster for $300. He went to spring training, but eventually got homesick, and asked for and got his release.
He signed with the Hagerstown Terriers in the Class D Blue Ridge League in 1916. He set a league record for strikeouts with 188 and won 18 games.
In 1917, he tied a league record with 25 victories and helped Hagerstown win its first league title. His ERA was 1.39 and he pitched 266 innings and played in a league record 39 games.
In 1918, he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers of the Class A A American Association. With World War 1 raging, many major league players joined the war effort. This was a break for Howard as he was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals. On April 18, 1918, he got into a game against the Chicago Cubs. He pitched the final two innings of a 6-4 loss. With one out in the eighth he walked the next two batters. The next batter hit a line drive to Howard who turned and threw to future Hall of Famer Roger Hornsby to double the runner off second. He retired the side in order in the ninth.
Howard was returned to the Brewers and pitched in eight games before joining the Army Aviation Corp.
Howard returned to baseball in 1920 with Milwaukee, but he did not reclaim the form he had before in the Blue Ridge League. He finished with a dismal 2-7 in 11 games.
In October, Howard returned to the county to pitch for Bedford in the Bedford County League Championship against Hyndman. Hyndman had won the first game 6-3. In the second game Howard pitched for Bedford and threw a one-hitter with 19 strikeouts in a Bedford 8-0 win. For the third and championship game, Hyndman brought Billy Doak, a 17-year major leaguer who won 20 games that year for the St. Louis Cardinals, to pitch against Bedford and Howard. Hyndman won the game 2-0 with Doak striking out 12 batters and Howard fanning 16.
Howard bounced around minor league baseball until the 1928 season when he pitched for Newark who was coached by Hall of Famer Walter Johnson. He was released midway through the season ending his professional career.
In 1930, Howard moved back to Everett where he was an insurance salesman and owner of a gas station. Earl died unexpectedly at the age of 43 in 1937. His daughter Charlotte lives in New Cumberland, PA and a nephew Ed Terpening lives in Bedford.
Class of 2009
Bedford County Sports Hall of Fame
Bedford County, Pennsylvania