Just a day after the 12-year anniversary of his iconic three home run game, future Philadelphia Phillies Wall of Famer Ryan Howard officially announced his retirement from professional baseball Monday.
In a piece for The Player’s Tribune, Howard announced he was officially retiring from baseball in a piece entitled “Thank You, Philly.”
Despite signing minor league contracts with both the Atlanta Braves and Colorado Rockies organizations in 2017, Howard never appeared at the major league level with a team other than the Phillies. In parts of 13 seasons for the Phillies, Howard became a franchise icon with his 382 home runs. Despite suffering a career-altering torn Achilles in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS, Howard packed a historic amount of production into his time with the Phillies.
The former fifth-round pick won the National League Rookie of the Year in 2005, after he smashed 22 home runs in 312 at-bats in relief of future Hall of Famer Jim Thome.
The Phillies traded Thome after the 2005 season, clearing a path for Howard to be the team’s everyday first baseman. In his first season as a regular starter, Howard slashed .313/.425/.659 with 58 home runs and 149 RBIs. Not only did Howard become the first Phillie to ever hit 50 home runs in a single-season in 2006, but he also was named the National League MVP.
In total, Howard would hit 284 home runs between 2005 and 2011. He also was a key cog during what turned out to be the most successful stretch in Phillies history. Between 2007 and 2011, the Phillies won five consecutive National League East titles, appeared in the NLCS three times, won two National League pennants and the 2008 World Series.
Though Howard had some less-than-memorable moments in his extended playoff appearances, he put together some iconic moments as well. Perhaps none of his production was bigger than what he did during the 2009 National League playoffs.
In Game 4 of the 2009 NLDS against the Colorado Rockies, Howard famously told his teammates to “just get him to the plate” in the ninth inning. They got him to the plate, and he delivered a game-tying double in what would eventually be a series-clinching victory for the Phillies:
And though Howard would struggle mightily in the 2009 World Series against the New York Yankees, he put together an other-worldy NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers that helped him to win MVP of the series. In five games in the series, Howard batted .333 with five hits, six walks, five runs scored, two home runs and eight RBIs.
In total, Howard finishes his career second in Phillies history in home runs, third in RBIs, fourth in extra-base hits and seventh in walks. His controversial five-year/$125 million deal helped him to become the highest earning player in franchise history as well.
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