case 'Jesse Baker':
Bobby Howard may have spent most of his life in Texas, but for a 10-year stretch he was a fastpitch softball star in the Pacific Northwest.
Born in Atlanta, Tex., on February 12, 1951, Howard graduated from Bright Star High School in 1969 and attended Texarkana College. After moving to the South Sound, he played for McChord Air Force Base and the Tacoma Merchants from 1970-74. From 1975 through 1980 he played with Cloverleaf Tavern, Manke & Sons Lumber, B&I Sports and Colonial Cedar in the Puget Sound Fastpitch League at Peck Field.
Able to move around the diamond, Howard played
shortstop, catcher, third base and outfield. With double-headers
scheduled for multiple days during the week, Howard recalled playing
as many as 167 games in a summer. He received numerous honors
throughout his career, including the best defensive player trophy in
Bobby also played for Manke Lumber and B&I Sports in the Northwest Major Fastpitch Softball League. One of his career highlights occurred in 1977 while playing shortstop for Manke Lumber in a double-header against Seattle's Peterbuilt nine. Howard went 4 for 6 at the plate. In the first game, he went 2 for 3 against Gram Arnold, scoring once with 2 RBI's. In the nightcap, he again went 2 for 3 against Ty Stofflet with a home run and 2 RBI's in a 2-0 win with Rich Nation pitching the shutout. In 1977 Arnold was arguably the best right- handed pitcher in the world and left-hander Stofflet is still considered one of the greatest pitchers to ever throw a ball.
1978, while playing for B&I Sports in the Seattle Invitational
Tournament, Howard went 3 for 4, scored twice against Stanley Kern,
the fastest pitcher in the world at the time, in a 4-0 win over
Victoria, B.C. (the former Canadian National Champions). In the
two-day tournament against Victoria Budget Rents, Seattle
Peterbuilt, Boondox of Longview, and Yakima Coca-Cola Bobby went 11
for 15. All teams were in the Northwest Major Fastpitch Softball
After leaving the Tacoma area, Howard coached baseball in Texas for 19 years. His teams won the city championship every year and claimed regional titles eight times. He also served 10 years as president of a youth basketball league.Howard refers to his time playing fastpitch in the Pacific Northwest as "a dream come true," saying that he played fastpitch in three other states after leaving Tacoma, but that "no other place in the world played fastpitch like the Pacific Northwest." He lives in Queen City, Tex., and retired from the US Army as a Quality Assurance Specialist.