University of Miami alumnus Howard Schoen still playing ball at 89
University of Miami alumnus Howard Schoen ’54 still has it on the diamond.
At 89, Schoen is still playing the game he grew up loving and playing. He plays in his local softball league in the north suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia.
“Some people say I had a wonderful long life, and I say, ‘I know I have. I’ve been a very busy person, a very active person all my life, and I feel like that’s probably the reason that I have lived as long as I have and being able to play as long as I have,’” Schoen said. “In reality, I pray daily and you thank the lord above and that he’s blessed me to do what I love for so long.”
Schoen began his baseball career at Miami Senior High School in Miami, Florida, where he played infield. His senior season, Schoen, a switch-hitter, hit .303 and made the All-District First Team and All-City second team.
He was coached by Charlie Tate, who coached Schoen in high school football and baseball, the same Tate who eventually coached the Miami Hurricanes football team from 1964-1970, was an assistant for the New Orleans Saints in 1971, and was inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.
Under Tate’s coaching, it earned him a baseball scholarship to Miami. He was named the Hurricanes’ captain in 1953. Schoen joined the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at Miami two years prior, in 1951.
“Most of all, my best friends today, one in particular, was an SAE,” Schoen said on why he joined the chapter.
That friend was Holmes Braddock (Miami ’49). They both went to the same high school, ironically, but became close friends in Miami. Schoen and Braddock have remained close friends following his time at the chapter at Miami. Braddock hired him to his first position in the insurance industry after graduation.
Over the years, Schoen has been active with his chapter. He helped develop signs to put out front of the chapter house when first built in the 1960s. He’s also played in the alumni baseball game. He last played in the game eight years ago.
Despite his 5’9, 155-pound stature, Schoen had professional baseball contract offers to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cleveland Indians. However, he went into the military two months after signing a contract after being drafted, derailing his baseball career.
After returning home from the military, he became a business representative for benefit sales to employers, selling insurance plans for health, disability, and dental. While his military service sidetracked his baseball career, he made the best of his circumstances by playing softball and baseball for the First Army team. He played on several travel teams for 38 years.
While in school, he was a St. Louis Cardinals fan, and his favorite player was Enos Slaughter. He eventually changed alliances to the Braves when he moved to Georgia in 1998.
He was known for his defensive capabilities, which still holds today. He received the Defensive Most Valuable Player on five occasions in World Series Senior Softball Tournaments. He says he would have quit softball years ago but found the Cherokee Senior Softball Association changed that. Today, Howard is in the Senior Softball Hall of Fame.
He and his wife Karen have six children and 14 grandchildren. His grandson Heath is an active brother at the University of South Carolina. He will graduate in 2022.
Howard may not have been able to play in the major leagues, but he’s made the most of his life experiences. At the end of the day, he loves the game and is happy he’s been able to live this long to enjoy it.