Jack Howell Signed Tokyo Yakult Swallows Card (1993 BBM)
Despite not being selected out of the University of Arizona in the 1983 MLB draft, Jack Howell was signed by the California Angels as an amateur free agent and quickly worked his way up the Angels system, making his Major League debut early in the 1985 season. He quickly established himself as a reliable and versatile player. From 1987-1989, he averaged 20 home runs per season.
Before the 1992 season, “Cactus Jack” signed with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows Nippon Professional Baseball. In 1992, he became the first foreigner to win MVP in his first season, when he led the league in home runs and batting average, and led the Swallows to the Japan Series, where they lost in 7 games to the Seibu Lions.
In 1993, hit for the cycle and set an NPB record with five “sayonara” home runs, en route to another Japan Series, where this time they beat the Lions in 7 games. It’s safe to say that with the MVP season and clutch performances in the championship season, Jack is forever beloved by Swallows fans. He played on more season with the Swallows and then in 1995 played with the Yomiuri Giants. He returned to MLB and the Angels from 1996-1997, and Astros from 1998-1999.