Hall of Fame Case: Ryan Howardby Yehuda Schwartz January 14, 2022 0 comments
Ryan Howard, the career Philadelphia Phillies cornerstone first baseman is making his first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot. He played for 13 seasons and helped bring winning baseball back to Philadelphia. Howard played over 1,500 games and holds many records in the Phillies organization. Does he have the goods to find a spot in Cooperstown?
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The Philadelphia Phillies selected Ryan James Howard in the fifth round of the 2001 MLB Draft. Howard was called up in September of 2004 and adjusted to the majors, hitting .282 in 19 games. In 2005, the young star won the NL Rookie of The Year Award after hitting .288 with 22 home runs in just 88 games. In 2006, Howard took home the MVP, award, home run crown, home run derby crown, and Phillies home run record. He hit .313 with 58 home runs in 159 games with 149 RBI’s. Over the next three seasons, 2007-2009, Howard totaled over 45 home runs each season, helped clinch the postseason each of those years, and took the Phillies to the World Series in 2008 and 2009. The Phillies won the World Series in 2008 defeating the Tampa Bay Rays.
Over the course of Howard’s career, he accumulated two home run titles, three all-star selections, a World Series championship, an NL MVP award, NL Rookie of the Year Award, and NLCS MVP, three RBI titles, and a Silver Slugger award.
Howard finished his career with a .258 batting average, 382 home runs, 1,194 RBI’s, and 1,475 hits over his 13 seasons.
The Hall of Fame currently consists of players who were the best at their positions for the entirety of their careers. I think it is fair to say that Howard was at least one of the best first basemen minus a couple of seasons. He led the league in home runs multiple times. The Phillies were led to the World Series due to his prowess. He made players like Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Jayson Werth better by being a feared bat in the middle of that lineup.
Howard certainly has the goods to be in the Hall of Fame without many questions asked.
Unfortunately, the last few seasons for Howard weren’t league average production-wise. He didn’t put up the numbers one would like in his final seasons. Milestones like 2,000 hits, 400 home runs, and 1,500 RBI’s also were not reached. Howard was an integral piece to the Phillies but failed to make many All-Star teams. His team contributions were remarkable and irreplaceable but in the grand scheme of the league, Howard was just another good player.
The Hall of Fame doesn’t put enough team value for players. The focus has always been who can put up the flashiest numbers in the league and who hit the major milestones. So many players only get voted in on the Veteran’s Committee for statistics that Howard has put up and their team contributions disregarded. Howard is a Hall of Fame player for his contributions to several Phillies winning seasons. Although, he will need to get voted in by his peers rather than the BBWAA.
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