100 Greatest Phillies: 25 – Ryan Howard – Phillies Nation
100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 25 – Ryan Howard

Ryan Howard
First Baseman

Career w/Phillies: .279 AVG / 177 HR / 499 RBI / 2 SB

Ryan Howard, in five years, is arguably the Phillies greatest offensive weapon ever. Blocked by Jim Thome on the system depth chart, Howard finally found regular time because of a Thome injury in 2005. The big man made the most of his time, swatting 22 home runs in 88 games. For that half-year output, Howard won the National League Rookie of the Year award. His encore? Hitting .313 with 58 home runs and 149 runs batted in, easily one of the most prolific seasons in Phillies history. He won the Most Valuable Player award for his efforts, cementing his place as one of the game’s most feared players. Since, Howard has remained a steady power hitter, crushing more than 40 homers in 2007 and ’08. Though his averages have dropped since that 2006 season, there’s no doubt Howard is far and away the games top home run hitter. His mammoth Septembers have helped the Phillies reach postseason play, and in 2008, he came alive late in the World Series to help energize the Phillies to their second world championship.

Comment: It’s amazing Howard has played merely five seasons. The numbers he has attained are mind-blogging – he’s averaging 35 home runs and almost 100 RBI per season. When he strides to the plate, everything stops. He’s that special. In a few years Howard could see his way into the top 10 of this list – for now, a ranking at the top of the 25 makes sense.


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  1. Tim Malcolm

    March 2, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    BOOM. Roasted.

  2. Jim

    March 2, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    NNO WAY!

  3. Jim

    March 2, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    are you kidding me? averaging 35 home runs and 100 rbis??

    baseball refernce.com has his 162 game averags… 50 home runs, 145 rbis. (195 ks) . find me another power history who averages those numbers who doesnt have a candy bar named after him

  4. Tim Malcolm

    March 2, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    35/100 per SEASON, Jim. Yes, the 162 game averages are better, of course.

  5. Pat

    March 2, 2009 at 6:06 pm


  6. Jim

    March 2, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    i just think its not fair to say he averages that PER SEASON when he didnt play a full season until his 3rd year

  7. Good Night Joe Carter

    March 2, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Well, I just lost the “Guess the top 10” contest. Despite his short career so far, Ryan Howard’s unprecedented achievements already had him in my top 10.

  8. Tim Malcolm

    March 2, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Well I definitely see your point, Jim.

  9. Jim

    March 2, 2009 at 6:11 pm


    Also, very funny, ill admit it, you got me

  10. MA Phanatic

    March 2, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    youuu son of a gun you

  11. Josh

    March 2, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Well played sir. Pulling out the old April Fools a month early joke. The comments in that previous thread were priceless. Also, I think this an appropriate spot for him. I might have put him slightly higher, but he’s still too early in his career to be considered top 10 material.

  12. Jamie

    March 2, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Yeah, Tim, you should give the big man more credit. He may have seen major league time in 2004, but 39 at bats hardly qualifies as a “year” in my book. His 2005 season was merely a large cup of coffee. His numbers adjusted over 3 1/2 seasons is much more accurate, and impressive. Where’s the love for guys like Wes Chamberlain?

  13. Tim Malcolm

    March 2, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Just to say this in this thread: I did this because I wanted to remind everyone why I’m doing this: It’s a fun feature that allows us to look back. It’s a subjective list, of course. There is NO way to do a straight objective list in rating baseball players. It’s impossible.

    I wanted people to remember this was about appreciation players, more than anything. That it’s a list makes it fun to debate. But when your “debate” is “this guy was not as good as Pete Rose” every day, it gets old. And when you threaten to stop following the blog, it’s kind of foolish. I do what I do for you guys. I wouldn’t steer you wrong.

    Now, Jamie, I thought hard about Howard’s placement, and I can definitely see him cracking the top 20. Still, he has shown to be very one dimensional lately, and I couldn’t justify putting him ahead of guys who have had longer, more consistent careers. Wes Chamberlain? He wasn’t bad but he probably just missed the top 100.

  14. Jason B.

    March 2, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Now this is where the rage comes out… How on Earth do you rank Ryan Howard higher than K-Stock? Nice joke Tim… for a second I thought you ate a couple of bad mushrooms.

  15. PhilliesLifer

    March 2, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    I also feel he will someday be in the top 10 or maybe the top 5. Should you really penalize him for his short service time? He has been the most dominant offensive player for the Phillies since he first dug into the batters box at the CBP Who else has been that much of force for ALL his days in red pinstripes? I hate to place a newbie that high also, but I have a hard time ranking him this low. By the way, this has been a fun thing to read over the last couple of months. Thanks for all your hard work. All of us fans really appreciate all you do to keep the site going.

  16. Tim Malcolm

    March 2, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Again, a valid argument about this. If it’s any consolation, Howard has the shortest service time of those remaining.

  17. Good Night Joe Carter

    March 2, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Rookie of the Year, MVP, World Series Champion, 2nd all-time in HR/AB behind the heavily asterisked Mark McGwire.

    It speaks for itself.

  18. nate

    March 2, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    there goes my list too. had him at 10.

  19. Jim

    March 2, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Of course players should be penalized for tenure!!

    Otherwise we would put Jimmie Foxx in the top 5 (played one year with the phillies, his last in 1945, not even playing 50 games)

  20. Chase Andrews

    March 2, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    The Thome injury came in 2005, not 2006, right? Thome was traded during the fall of ’05.

  21. Good Night Joe Carter

    March 2, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    By the way, nice Michael Scott reference to open up the thread.

  22. Manny

    March 2, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    I thought his mammoth numbers would have him in the top 15 at least, but oh well… and I agree with Jim in that you can’t do averages when the guy didn’t play a full season until his 3rd year… His numbers ARE much more impressive than that 35/100 “stat.”

  23. Adam Eaton (24th greatest Phillie)

    March 2, 2009 at 8:10 pm

  24. Jamie

    March 2, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Tim, I wasn’t complaining about his placement, I just pointed out that his stats were actually over 3 1/2 years instead of 5. That would, of course, yield much higher averages. You are correct that he has become on-dimensional lately, but let’s hope that changes again this year. If not, and if he only his .250 and has 200 K’s, I can live with it if his other numbers are there. As Ryan said on Baseball Tonight yesterday, I’ll take 50 HR’s with 150 RBI’s any day even if the strikeouts are high…

  25. BurrGundy

    March 2, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Just one fan’s prediction — We have not seen the best of Ryan Howard. I predict he will have a Hall-of-Fame career and will someday hit over 60 home runs. Yes, I am optimistic, but this guy is special and all he has to do is cut down his strikeouts by 20 % and stay healthy.

  26. James Kay

    March 2, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    More .300 averages along with the homers and RBI’s and he will transcend all criticism. He even occasionally flashes some impressive leather in the field when he is focused. This guy has eventual top ten potential. With some refined arrogance added to his demeanor, maybe even number 1.
    Also, Don Demeter, who was disparagingly referenced in the Stocker thread, was once described by Gene Mauch as a reliable power hitter who had steel springs in his wrists. Don was a very solid player who was very popular with the fans. I believe he was also involved in the trade with the Tigers that brought Jim Bunning to the Phillies.

  27. BurrGundy

    March 2, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Memo to James Kay — I have a bat, photo and ball autographed by Wes “The Kingfish” Covington. He is one of my all-time favorites and I loved his batting stance — yet to be emulated. Don Demeter was traded for Jim Bunning as was a minister. Pete Incavilia(sp) lived in my apartment house and is a great guy, and would have been an outstanding middle linebacker. I am glad someone besides me remembers them.

  28. James Kay

    March 2, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    BurrGundy, I obviously misinterpreted your Stocker thread comment. Thanks for the positive clarifications on these guys. Big Cool Wes.

  29. Jim

    March 2, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    ryan howard will never hit .300 again, his swing is way to slow for that and pitchers have figured out how to hit him. something higher than .250 is reasonable of course. he should be able to hit 270-275

  30. christopher

    March 2, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    so we’re going to end up with what- two players, MAYBE, from the 08 team in the top 10? tim i’m not trying to attack you but that’s just silly. the top 10 should be predominantly players from the 80 and 08 teams. the value of winning a world series simply can not be overstated.

  31. Jim

    March 2, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    i beg to differ christopher.

    i think a lot of the guys, especially on the 2008 team, have not played with the phils long enough. are you saying that shane victorino is better than chuck klein or richie ashburn? are you saying that brett myers is better than jim bunning?

    this is not the top 100 phillies teams, its the top 100 players.

    ALSO, history is often more kind of a to a player than present day. we remember the mishaps with rollins, we remember the arbitration issues with howard. its really hard to judge a player who has not completed his career really high up.

    consider this: for howard to only play 3 full seasons, ,and already be named the 25th best player for a franchise that has been around for over 100 years with over 10,000 players ( and yes, 10000 losses) is a huge honor.

  32. Tim Malcolm

    March 2, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Just a note: I had Demeter on my short list outside the top 100. In retrospect he was a heck of a power hitter, and I wouldn’t have been against making room for him in the rankings.

  33. Chris.I

    March 3, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Dude how the fuk is Howard 25 on a 100 list? He would definitly be top 12-If not top 10. Your doing this based on what? Stats? LoL. No seriously, all due respect your information is highly incorrect. I’m not even a Howard fan, and anyone can agrue this until there blue in the face, and I’ll still tell you your wrong.

  34. Bruce

    March 3, 2009 at 12:37 am

    I have questioned in the past when Tim started to do his countdown of his “greatest–” list about the inclusion of current players from the 2008-9 team. The repeated complaints from more than one posters such as ” ..have not played with the phils long enough ” to get a true picture of a current player’s potential greatness will continue to persist. Ranking current players with short “sevice time” requires even greater SUBJECTIVE thinking on Tim’s part. Consequently, his rankings will and have invited “debates” and at times compelled Tim to defend his choices. I have already expressed my appreciation for Tim’s time and effort with research and enlightened us with information on selected players of generations past. However, as stated, to include and select current players with INCOMPLETE record complicates the listing and as a few commented, penalized those players having potential greatness with a LOWER ranking.

    However, as Tim said, the list is a “fun” feature for the purpose of entertainment and enlightenment and that matters more than rankings for his blog. Keep up the good work.

  35. Pingback: Bottom of the first 3.3.2009 | Red Phever

  36. ryan

    March 3, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    this is an appropriate spot for R-HO. whew. god i love that big guy.

  37. Roose13

    March 3, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I would have put him higher but to each his own I suppose.

  38. Tim Malcolm

    March 3, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I still don’t know why you’re against giving players with so-called “incomplete” records time on the list, Bruce.

    Think about these scenarios:
    – God forbid, a current player is injured or dies, or just simply retires before 2009.

    So then the player’s record is suddenly “complete”?

    – Von Hayes decides to make a comeback for the Phillies in 2009.

    Are we going to automatically DQ him from the list because he decided to come back?

    The list chronicles players from 1883-2008. I wouldn’t have done this list during the season, but by doing it in the offseason, it allows for a closed date. As of right now, I’m saying Howard is the 25th greatest Phillie. I do not in any way consider potential in my rankings. Why should I? Like I wrote before, what if he decides to retire right now? He is then entrenched solidly between Maddox and whomever comes after him.

    I don’t think adding current players complicates anything. Nor does it make my job any more subjective. I’m basing Howard’s ranking on his performance from 2004-2008. Just as I’m rating Mike Schmidt on his performance from 1972-1989. And so on.

  39. Phan in TN

    March 3, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I would never Dairy Queen Von Hayes from the list because he decided to come back.

  40. CJ

    August 23, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Howard is easily the top 10 greatest. I strongly believe hes still hasnt hit his greatest season yet so keep watch of him i see him cutting down on Strikeouts and Hitting atleast 60+ Homers

  41. Justin

    August 2, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Uhh Jim, the “Baby Ruth” was not named after Babe Ruth…. it was named after “Ruth” which was some president’s daughter.

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