Howard Farmer

From BR Bullpen

1992 Stadium Club #367 Howard Farmer

Howard Earl Farmer

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Biographical Information[edit]

Howard Farmer was a right-handed pitcher in the Montreal Expos organization from 1987 to 1993. He was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays with the 25th overall pick in the January 1985 amateur draft but chose not to sign, and instead attended Jackson State University. The Expos took Farmer in the seventh round of the 1987 amateur draft, and this time he signed, with Ed Creech being the scout. Howard and his brother, Mike Farmer, are two of the six pitchers in major league history born in Gary, Indiana.

Rise to the Majors[edit]

The Expos sent Farmer to the Jamestown Expos of the New York-Penn League in 1987. He tied Matt Shifflett for most wins on the team, finishing with 9. Farmer's ERA was 3.27, and he tossed three complete games. His stats were even better with the Rockford Expos in 1988. He finished with a team best 15 wins, and the only starter to best his 2.51 ERA was Mel Rojas, who finished with a 2.45 mark.

The Indiana native appeared to be on the brink of the majors in 1989. He went 12-9 with a 2.20 ERA for the Jacksonville Expos, and won his lone start with the AAA Indianapolis Indians. Farmer totaled 154 strikeouts, a career best. Baseball America rated the young fireballer the 69th best prospect in all of baseball following the season.

Steve Fireovid said of Farmer in The 26th Man:

"Howard, though, is one of Montreal's boys. By that I mean he's a highly touted, reed-thin, twenty-four-year-old prospect with a 'can't miss' label...He has three attributes that, combined, make all the brass salivate. He has a live arm. He ordinarily has great command of three pitches. And he's young" (p. 36).


The young prospect's troubles began in 1990 when he allowed more hits than innings pitched for the first time in his professional career. Though his final ERA with Indianapolis was a respectable 3.89, Farmer's record fell to 7-9. In a cup of coffee with the Expos, he surrendered nine home runs in 23 innings. His record with the big club was 0-3, and his ERA was 7.04. The highlight was a seven-inning gem against the Chicago Cubs in his second major league start on September 3rd. He allowed just two runs in the game. Farmer faced the Cubs again on September 11th, and again pitched well, tossing three hitless innings of relief.

Over the next four seasons, Farmer failed to make it back to the majors. He actually made the Expos' starting rotation out of spring training in 1991 and was scheduled to make his first start on April 11th, but he pulled a muscle in his ribcage in his last spring outing and was put on the disabled list instead. Sent to Indianapolis to work himself back in shape, he got hurt again, and would make a third trip to the DL before the end of the season, without getting back to Montreal. He won just 15 games from 1991 to 1995, all in the minor leagues. In the spring of 1995, he was a replacement player with the Montréal Expos before the strike ended. His final stop was with the Chattanooga Lookouts in 1995. He gave up three runs in his lone appearance with the club.

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