With Ryan Howard’s last game as a Phillie approaching on Sunday, here’s part one in a short series about his career. First we look at his numbers. We all know regardless of our love/hate/annoyed relationship with Howard that he’ll go down as one of the all-time great Phillies – they might as well build a new Wall of Fame wing just for him, Chase, Cole, Chooch, and Jimmy – and his place on the all-time Phillie rankings proves that*:
- 6th in career Slugging (.515)
- 3rd in single season Slugging (.659 in 2006)
- 7th in Games Played (1569)
- 5th in Total Bases (2933)
- 383 Total Bases in 2006 (best since 1932)
- 10th in Doubles (276)
- 2nd in Home Runs (381)
- Owns the four top single-season home run totals (Schmidt and Thome are tied in some years)
- 3rd in RBIs (1192)
- 7th in BB (709)
- 2nd in SO (1839)
- 8th in Runs Created (1033)
- 4th in XBH (678)
- 2nd in IBB (154)
- 2nd in AB per HR (14.9)
And he’s on some all-time post-season rankings league-wide as well. Some good, some bad: Howard is the all-time leader in strikeouts in a single World Series (13 in 2009). He’s tied for 4th all-time for most doubles in an LCS (4 in 2010) and 6th all-time for most RBIs in a postseason with 17 in 2009.
Those RBIs and doubles are nice, but Howard made his name (and his contract) on home runs. He started his career with two bombs after a late call-up, when he wore #12. Both were pinch-hit home runs, the first of his career off Bartolome Fortunato of the Mets on 9/11/2004. He’s hit a home run off of 255 different pitchers in 26 ballparks.
Not known for going deep into counts, but getting away with it, Howard hit 154 of his round-trippers on either the first or second pitch of an at-bat. 59 of them came in the 6th inning– his best. He’s hit 6 walk-offs, 45 game-tying blasts, and 145 go-ahead dingers. Surprisingly, he’s hit only 2 homers with a 3-0 greenlight, and only 6 in an 0-2 hole. This season, in the twilight of his career, Howard is hitting a home run every 13.3 at-bats. It’s his best rate since he did it every 12.7 at-bats in 2008, and the 4th best rate of his career.
Away from home, he hit 23 HRs at Turner Field, by far the most in an opposing park… though he also hit a combined 23 in Shea Stadium and Citi Field, which warms the soul.
Let’s name names:
Pitchers Howard has owned: Howard faced Tim Hudson the most (83 PA/70 AB). He hit .343/.434/.686 against him with 12 BBs, 11 SOs, and 7 HRs (3 in one game). He totally owned former Phillie Kyle Lohse, whom he hit .382 against in 39 PAs. But his number one victim was Chris Volstad. In just 32 plate appearances, Howard hit 8 HRs off him. His OPS is an insane 2.075. Volstad probably still j0lts out of bed in the middle of the night thinking of Howard.
Pitchers who have owned Howard: Oliver Perez has struck Howard out 15 times in 30 at-bats. Tim Lincecum did it 17 times in 42 at-bats. Jason Marquis got Howard to ground into 4 double plays in 27 at-bats, while Jeff Suppan got him to do it 3 times in just 15. Matt Garza has held Howard to 1 hit in 19 at-bats.
Facing the NL East, Howard has 126 doubles, 8 of his 21 career triples, 187 home runs, 339 walks (48% of his total) and 750 Ks. His splits of .265/.356/.540 are all higher than his career averages (by 7, 12, and 25 points, respectively). But he did the most damage at home. His home.
Against his hometown St. Louis Cardinals, he hit .331/.433/.649 with 23 HRs in just 70 games. In the 38 games he played in St. Louis, he hit 75 points above average and 210 slugging points higher than average. He also faced perhaps his career’s defining moment against the Cardinals, the blown Achilles. The Dodgers have completely shut him down, allowing only a .191/.265/.451 line in 66 games.
Howard ruled in September and early October. He posted his best monthly splits across the board with .273/.383/.576. In 975 ABs in the last month of the season, Howard hit 76 HR (one every 12.8 AB, much better than his career average of 14.9)
- 2005 NL Rookie of The Year
- 2006 MVP (when he made $355,000)
- 2006 NL Hank Aaron Award
- 2006 Major League Player of the Year
- 5th in MVP voting in 2007
- 2nd in MVP voting in 2008
- 3rd in MVP voting in 2009
- 10th in MVP voting in 2010 and 2011
- 2009 NLCS MVP
- Two-time NL HR leader
- Three-time NL RBI leader
- 2006 NL Silver Slugger at 1B
Regardless of sentiment, time will place Howard firmly and clearly among the all-time greats in red pinstripes. Next in the series will be a eulogy for Ryan Howard’s career.
*He obviously has three games left, but these rankings are unlikely to change.