Howell was one of the hardest-throwing relief pitchers of the 1980s, despite an up-and-down
career. He led the AL in strikeouts per inning in 1984 with the Yankees and became
the stopper for the A's and the Dodgers. He had his best season in 1989 (5-3, 1.58
ERA, 28 saves). In between, he endured horrible collapses, with ERAs above 5.00 in
both 1983 and 1987. He was the losing pitcher in the 1987 All-Star Game.
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achieved national notoriety with the Dodgers in the 1988 LCS against the Mets. In
Game Three, played in a cold rain, he was ejected for having pine tar on his glove.
He was suspended: at first for the next three LCS games, but ultimately, after an
appeal, for two. He had already lost Game One in the ninth inning on the first run
he had surrendered since August 11. In the World Series, his inconsistency continued;
he surrendered a game-losing ninth-inning homer to the A's Mark McGwire in Game Three,
but came back the next day to save Game Four with 2-1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
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FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»October 17, 1980: The Reds trade P Jay Howell to the Cubs for C Mike O'Berry. Howell will play 15 seasons while O'Berry will not ripen with the six teams he backstops for.
»October 8, 1988: Dodgers ace reliever Jay Howell is ejected in the 8th inning of game three of the NLCS for having pine tar on his glove, and the Mets go on to score five times in the inning on the way to an 8–4 win. Howell will be suspended for three days by the National League.
»July 26, 1991: Against the Dodgers, Montreal's Mark Gardner pitches a no-hitter for nine innings before Lenny Harris beats out an infield single in the 10th. The Dodgers get two more hits, including an RBI single by Darryl Strawberry, to plate the only run of the contest. After a 2-out walk in the 1st to Eddie Murray, Gardner retires 19 in a row. The Expos manage only two hits themselves against the combined efforts of Orel Hershiser, Kevin Gross, and Jay Howell. Gardner is the 11th pitcher to lose a no-hitter after nine innings; the last being Jim Maloney, on June 14, 1965, and the first pitcher to hurl nine no-hit innings against the Dodgers since Johnny Vander Meer, in 1938.