Architect of Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine, Bob Howsam remains a popular Hall of Fame candidate with the Veterans Committee. Howsam started as general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, winning a World Championship in 1964.
Three years later he began a successful 11-year run with Cincinnati. With Howsam assembling the team, the Reds marched to six division titles, four National League pennants and back-to-back World Championships in 1975 and 1976.
Under his watch, the Reds farm system produced mainstays Davey Concepcion and Ken Griffey. He also pulled off two key trades to acquire men who’d earn the MVP Award in Cincinnati.
In 1971, Howsam plucked Joe Morgan from the Astros. An All Star in each of his eight seasons with the Reds, Little Joe won back-to-back MVP Awards in ’75 and ’76.
Howsam also pilfered George Foster from the Giants for utility man Frank Duffy. Foster had his MVP season in ’77 when he became the only man of the ’70s or ’80s to slug 50 homers in a season.
Here is a typed signed letter dated August 21, 1968 on Reds letterhead. Despite his role as executive, Howsam’s autograph remains elusive.