Ryan Howard Set to Play Final Weekend for Phillies
Hard to believe this weekend most likely will be the final time we see Ryan Howard wear the Phillies red pinstripes. The Phillies have announced the will be having a ceremony for the 'Big Piece' on Sunday, a half-hour before the game to honor one of the true greats of the Phillies organization.
Looking back, it hits you, this is really the end.
Jimmy Rollins gone. Cole Hamels gone. Chase Utley gone. Carlos Ruiz gone.
And now all indications are Howard's time has come.
Hopefully Phillies fans will use this time to reflect back on what was the best era of Phillies baseball, and on one of its best players.
During his prime years, when Howard stepped to the plate, he was one of the most feared hitters in baseball, you stopped what you were doing to watch him hit - he was that good.
He came on the scene in 2005, winning the National League Rookie of the Year award and followed it up the very next year by winning the National League MVP award. The following three season he ended up fifth, second and third in the MVP voting and had two tenth places finishes after that.
Because of the sharp decline Howard had, we tend to forget just how amazing Howard's numbers were from 2006-2011. He was simply incredible. On top of the accolades listed above, Howard hit 45 or more homers four different seasons, six times he drove in over 100 runs.
Not bad for a fifth-round pick from Missouri State University.
Many will remember "Get me to the plate, boys," during the 2009 National League Divisional series in Colorado, a moment which cemented him as one of the most feared hitters in baseball.
With time, and the ability to look back and reflect, I think Phillies fans will appreciate the good and fun times Ryan Howard brought to to Philadelphia more then the struggles post-Achilles injury.
While Rollins started the era with his famous "We're the team to beat", and Utley may have been the fans favorite, I think Howard was the most important player of the group.
The years sure went by fast, they always seems to feel that way at the end of the line.
Hopefully you remember the 381 times he made you stand and cheer when he blasted one over-the-fence, the 1192 times he drove in a run and the countless times he helped the Phillies win a game over his 13 seasons.
Including the most important games of all - the 2008 World Series.