Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Batting Fourth: Ryan Howard- First Base

MLB: World Series 2008 - Game 4 - Phillies Win Big and Take 3-1 Series Lead

Philadelphia Phillies All-Time Line Up (Part 4 of a 9 Part Series)

Like his current teammate Chase Utley, Ryan Howard has already established himself as the top Phillies player at his position in a relatively short period of time. In what amounts to four and one half seasons, Howard has terrorized opposing pitchers around the league and accumulated many accolades while doing it.

After being groomed in the Phillies farm system, the team resisted trading him and Howard got his opportunity in the big leagues when Jim Thome went down with a season ending injury. He quickly answered any questions whether he was major league ready when he put together an "NL Rookie of the Year" campaign in just 88 games.

The Phillies elected to move fan favorite Thome in the offseason to clear space for Howard and have never looked back. He rewarded them with an MVP sophomore campaign, establishing a team record for home runs with 58 while driving in 149 runners. He also batted .313 with a .425 OBP and .659 SLG.

Needless to say, he was making quite an impression with his wildly impressive stat totals, but punctuated it all with some of the longest bombs in major league history. Over the past four seasons since his rookie campaign, Howard has averaged a staggering 50 HR's and 143 RBI's and has continued to be a "Sports Center" highlight waiting to happen.

Despite playing a position shared by some of the other most accomplished hitters around baseball, Ryan has been named to a pair of NL All-Star Teams and awarded the Silver Slugger in 2006. He has also finished in the top five in MVP voting in each of the last four years.

Howard, Utley, and Jimmy Rollins are central to the nucleus that has propelled the team to elite status over the past three years. At 30 years of age, the "Willie Stargell-with-better-wheels-like" slugger may have his best days still ahead of him as he cuts down on his strikeouts and continues to hone the art of hitting.

What a scary thought for opposing pitchers and teams. What an exciting prospect for the Phillies and their fans.


Phillies 465 222 640 .279 10 .376 .586

Career 465 222 640 .279 10 .376 .586

Honorable Mention:

John Kruk- The lovable player most likely to be voted "Best Guy to Hangout With" had an impressive stint with the Phillies. Over six seasons that included the 1993 NL Pennant winning team, Krukker hit .309 and was elected to the NL All-Star Team three times.

Jim Thome- The future Hall-of-Famer was great in his 2 1/2 seasons with the team, cracking 96 home runs in 361 games. Ironically, if the team had traded Howard and kept Thome, he might have been in the Dream Team starting line-up.

Dick Allen- No matter whether you called him Rich, Richie, Dick or Crash, Allen is arguably the most talented player ever to wear a Phillies uniform. The prodigious slugger played the first half of his career in Philadelphia and then later returned for a couple seasons. Unfortunately, his career was often interrupted by injury and controversy, but he still managed to amass 351 home runs and a .292 batting average. Allen was a seven time All-Star, the 1964 NL Rookie of the Year, and the 1972 AL MVP.

Philadelphia Phillies All-Time Line Up

Batting First: Richie Ashburn- Center Field

Batting Second: Chase Utley- Second Base

Batting Third: Mike Schmidt- Third Base

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