Ryan James Howard (born November 19, 1979, in St. Louis, Missouri) is a baseball player who plays first base for the Philadelphia Phillies. Howard is six feet, four inches tall and 255 pounds. He bats and throws left-handed.
One of the game's most feared sluggers, Howard was the 2006 National League MVP. On June 27, 2007, Howard became the fastest player to reach 100 home runs in Major League Baseball history. On July 16, 2009, Howard continued to prove that he is becoming one of the most prolific power hitters to ever play the game as he became the fastest player in Major League Baseball history to reach 200 home runs.
Minor league yearsEdit
Selected in the 5th round of the 2001 draft, Howard quickly ascended the Phillies' minor league system, earning consecutive MVP awards in the Florida State and Eastern leagues (2003 and 2004), respectively. While doing this, he impressed scouts enough that general managers of several teams tried to lure the Phillies' Ed Wade into trading him, as Jim Thome was blocking his path to the majors.
2004 – September call-upEdit
On September 1, Howard made his first Major League plate appearance, striking out against Jaret Wright in a pinch-hit at-bat (for Vicente Padilla) in a 7–2 loss to the Atlanta Braves. On September 6, Howard logged his first Major League hit in a single at-bat in a 3–1 loss to the Braves; on September 8, he recorded his first multi-hit game with a double and a single in a 4–1 win over the Braves. On September 11, Howard hit his first Major League home run off Bartolome Fortunato, driving in his first RBI and scoring his first run in an 11–9 win over the New York Mets.
Ryan Howard had 42 plate appearances in 19 games with the Phillies in 2004. He posted a .282 batting average with two home runs and five RBI; he also hit five doubles, drew two walks, and was hit by a pitch. Between playing for the Double-A Reading Phillies, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons and the Philadelphia Phillies, Howard hit 48 home runs, which was tied for the highest total in organized baseball in 2004 along with Adrián Beltré of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
2005 – Rookie of the YearEdit
On May 15, Howard recorded his first three-hit game, going 3-for-4 with a double, two singles, and a run-scored in a 4–3 win over the Cincinnati Reds. On August 23, he recorded his first four-hit game, going 4-for-5 with a double, a home run, two singles, three RBI and three runs-scored in a 10–2 win over the San Francisco Giants. In early July, Howard became the Phillies' everyday first baseman when slugger Jim Thome was sidelined for the season with an elbow injury.
Howard, who led all major league rookies with 22 home runs, also posted a .288 average and 63 RBI in just 312 at-bats and 88 games. He hit eleven home runs and 27 RBI in September and October. Howard finished his rookie season with 17 doubles, two triples, 52 runs scored, and 100 strikeouts and 63 runs batted in as the Phillies battled the Houston Astros for the National League wild card until getting eliminated on the last day of the season. Howard was rewarded for his effort by being named NL Rookie of the Year, the fourth Phillie to win the award.
After the 2005 season, the Phillies faced a dilemma involving Thome and Howard. Both were very talented and proven power-hitters; Thome was the biggest free agent player the Phillies signed prior to the 2003 season, but Howard was the reigning Rookie of the Year and a promising young player. Before the 2006 season, Thome was traded, along with $22 million cash, to the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Aaron Rowand, Gio Gonzalez, and Daniel Haigwood in order to make room for Howard.
2006 – Most Valuable PlayerEdit
On April 23, Howard became the first player to hit a home run into Ashburn Alley at Citizens Bank Park. The blast traveled 496 feet and was hit off Sergio Mitre of the Florida Marlins. It was the first of two Howard would hit in the game, the first multi-home run game of his career. He also became the first player to hit a home run into the third deck of the park in right field when he connected off Mike Mussina on June 20, a 481-foot long-ball that was again his first of two home runs. To honor the home run, the Phillies painted a white H on the seat where the ball was caught. Howard collected seven RBI on the two home runs and a triple in the 9–7 loss, becoming the first Phillies batter to drive in seven runs since pitcher Robert Person on June 2, 2002.
Howard was named to his first All-Star game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh as a reserve first baseman, by the player ballot. He participated in the Century 21 Home Run Derby prior to the game, and won the contest with a total of 23 home runs, defeating the New York Mets' third baseman David Wright in the final round. Howard was the second consecutive Phillie to win the Derby, with Bobby Abreu hitting a record 41 home runs in 2005.
From August 25 to August 29, Howard hit home runs in four consecutive games; on the 29th, Howard hit his 48th home run of the season to tie Mike Schmidt for the Phillies single-season record. Two days later, on August 31, Howard hit a home run into the upper deck of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium to surpass Schmidt as the Philadelphia Phillies single-season home run record holder.
On September 3, Howard went 4-for-4 with three home runs and a single in an 8–7 win over the Atlanta Braves, to become the first Philadelphia Phillies batter and the 24th player in Major League history to hit 50 home runs in a season. Reaching 52 home runs in the game, Howard also broke Ralph Kiner's 1947 record for home runs in a sophomore season, becoming just the second batter to hit 50 home runs in a second season. On September 5, Howard was named the NL Player of the Month for August. His 41 runs batted in were the most any player had in one month since Frank Howard had 41 in July 1962. With 14 home runs, he also set new franchise records for both statistics in the month of August. On September 22, Howard became the 8th player in history to hit 58 home runs in a season, belting a three-run round-tripper off Florida Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco. The same day, Howard was awarded the third annual Mike Schmidt Most Valuable Player honor by the Philadelphia Baseball Writers Association of America
On October 2, Howard was named the NL Player of the Month for September. Howard, who also won the award in August, became the first player since Albert Pujols in May and June 2003, to win the award back-to-back.
2006 season awardsEdit
On November 8, Howard was named by his fellow Major Leaguers as the Player of the Year and the National League Outstanding Position Player in the 2006 Players Choice Awards balloting. He succeeded Atlanta Braves outfielder Andruw Jones, the 2005 winner of both awards. On the same day, following a 5-3 win over Nippon Professional Baseball that capped a five-game international sweep by the MLB in the Major League Baseball Japan All-Star Series, Howard was named the Series MVP; he hit .558 with eight runs, three doubles, four homers and eight RBI. On November 10, Howard was awarded the National League Silver Slugger Award at first-base.
On November 20, he won the National League MVP award, and became only the second player in baseball history to win the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in successive seasons, joining Cal Ripken Jr. (Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki are the only players to win both awards during the same season).
On Wednesday, May 9, Howard hit his 4th career grand slam against Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Medders when he came into the game as a pinch hitter for Wes Helms. On May 13, Howard was placed on the disabled list with a left quadriceps strain after missing five straight games. Howard fielded grounders for about 45 minutes before the Phillies game with the Blue Jays on May 20. Howard returned to the lineup on May 25, after a rehabilitation assignment with the class A Lakewood team as a designated hitter. He hit a home run in his first at-bat there. On May 27, he hit two home runs in a win that helped the Phillies sweep the Braves.
On June 27, Howard hit a 505-foot home run, and became the fastest player in Major League Baseball history to hit 100 home runs.  The accomplishment was achieved in only 325 games, 60 games less than the 385 games that Ralph Kiner needed to hit his first 100 home runs from 1946 to 1948.
Though Howard did not compete in the 2007 MLB All-Star Game, he was chosen to compete in the 2007 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby for the second straight year in order to defend his title. However Howard only hit 3 home runs in the first round and did not advance.
After coming back from the DL, Howard had a "power surge," as he quickly climbed to second on the home run leaders list in the National League. On July 25, Howard hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 14th inning to give the Phillies a victory over the Washington Nationals.
On September 27, he established a new major league record by striking out for his 196th and 197th time, breaking the old record of 195 (he tied it on September 23), set by Adam Dunn in 2004. He ended the season with 199 strikeouts, striking out an NL-highest 37.6% of the time.
His final 2007 season totals were a .268 average, with 47 home runs and 136 runs batted in, helping the Phillies win the National League East title on the final day of the season to earn their first postseason berth since the 1993 World Series. The Phillies were swept by the Colorado Rockies (who had won a one-game playoff against the San Diego Padres for the NL Wild Card) in the 2007 National League Division Series; Howard homered off Jeremy Affeldt in Game Two, but also struck out seven times in his other 11 at-bats.
On February 21, 2008, Howard won an arbitration case against the Phillies, and was awarded $10 million, the most ever for a victorious player. The Phillies had offered $7 million to Howard in salary.
Howard began the 2008 season in a slump, finishing the month of April with a batting average of just .172 and going 2-for-25 to close out the month. He fared better in May, averaging .238 with ten home runs and 30 RBI for the month, and finishing out May just north of the Mendoza Line with an overall batting average of .205. Howard hit his 15th home run of the season in a 7–3 loss to the Florida Marlins on May 30; Chase Utley having hit his 15th longball on May 25, the two became the first pair of Phillies to hit 15 home runs each before June .
On June 13, Howard hit two home runs and drove in five in a 20–2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. This included the second of a first-inning set of back-to-back-to-back Philadelphia home runs. It was the seventh time that the Phillies had hit three consecutive home runs, the first since May 18, 2004 , and the fourth occurrence by any team in the 2008 Major League Baseball season. On June 16, Howard again hit two home runs and drove in four in an 8–2 win over the Boston Red Sox for his 15th career multi-homer game; the four-day span between multi-homer games was the shortest of his career. In stark contrast, Howard went 0-for-4 the next night with four strike outs in a 3–0 loss for his tenth career golden sombrero. Ryan drove in his 100th run of the 2008 season on August 1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, marking his third consecutive season with at least 100 RBI.
Howard has a twin brother as well as an older brother and a sister. He claims to be the smallest of the Howard sons. His favorite baseball team growing up was the St. Louis Cardinals. He graduated from Lafayette High School in 1998, where he played trombone. While attending Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University) he became a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc and his line name was "Blue Hurt".
Howard is a representative for a number of products including Adidas and for the restaurant Subway. He is on the packaging of Topps 2007 Series 1 and 2008 Triple Threads baseball cards. He is also on the cover of MLB 08: The Show. He appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman along with teammate Jimmy Rollins on April 11, 2007.
This list includes the major league records set by Philadelphia Phillies first-baseman Ryan Howard.
|Set while playing for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Home runs in a sophomore season||58||2006||Ralph Kiner, 51 (1947)||52nd on 09.03.2006|
|Walks in a nine-inning game (NL)||5||2006||tied, numerous others||07.30.2006|
|Home runs in first 1,000 career at-bats||85||2004–2007||Cecil Fielder, 76 (1985-1990)||77th on 09.04.2006|
|Fewest games for 100 home runs||325||2004–2007||Ralph Kiner, 385 (1946-1948)||100th on 06.27.2007|
|Fewest games for 150 home runs||495||2004–2008||Eddie Mathews, 569 (1952-1955)||150th on 07.02.2008|
|Strikeouts in a season (batting)||199||2007||Adam Dunn, 195 (2004)||196th on 09.27.2007|
|Search Wikimedia Commons||Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Ryan Howard|
- List of Major League Baseball home run records
- List of Major League Baseball home run champions
- List of Major League Baseball RBI champions
- 50 Home Run Club
- ↑ Howard makes a memory. phillies.com. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.
- ↑ Howard receives honor Lefty slugger earns Mike Schmidt Player of the Year Award. phillies.com. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.
- ↑ Zolecki, Todd. "The $900,000 Man", Philadelphia Inquirer, philly.com, March 3, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.
- ↑ HitTracker :: Player and Field Detail
- ↑ Howard becomes fastest to hit 100 homers in loss
- ↑ Major League Leaderboards » 2007 » Batters » Advanced Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball
- ↑ Ryan Howard beats Phillies in arbitration and will earn $10 million
- ↑ Utley and Howard Power the Phils
- ↑ Phillies hit three straight homers in first inning
- ↑ Braves veterans reign in blowout win
- ↑ Astros use long ball to down Brewers
- ↑ Rays go back-to-back-to-back vs. Angels
- ↑ Ryan Howard hits two home runs to lead Phillies over Red Sox 8-2
- ↑ Red Sox handcuff Phillies, 3-0
- ↑ Mandel, Ken (2008-08-12). Howard reaches 100-RBI mark again. Philadelphia Phillies. Retrieved on 2008-08-12.
- ↑ Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Debut adidas Three Stripes at Daytona
- ↑ Florida v. Philadelphia, 2006-07-30
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube