Ahead of Sunday afternoon’s Philadelphia Phillies walk-off victory over the Washington Nationals, the Phillies honored former first baseman Ryan Howard with a retirement ceremony at Citizens Bank Park.
Howard, now 39, spent all 13 seasons of his major league career in red pinstripes. Howard broke into the major leagues in 2005, and won the National League Rookie of the Year after slugging 22 home runs in 312 at-bats. A year later, Howard had a historically dominant power season, smashing 58 home runs, driving 149 runs and posting a 1.084 OPS in his National League MVP season.
It turned out that Howard’s 2006 season, in which he also won the Home Run Derby, was a sign that the Phillies were set to return to the national stage. From 2007 to 2011, the Phillies won the National League East title each season, appeared in the NLCS three times, won two National League pennants and the 2008 World Series.
The other two key position players on the 2008 team – Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins – were honored with their own retirement nights earlier this season. Howard got a retirement afternoon Sunday, and delivered a memorable speech in front of a sell-out crowd:
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