Ryan James Howard was born November 19, 1979 to Cheryl and Ron Howard in St. Louis Missouri. As hard as it is to miss the bruising 6’4”, 255 pound lefthander, collegiate and professional scouts overlooked the power hitting first baseman for several years.
Howard eventually enrolled at Southwest Missouri where he continued to blister the ball as he had done in high school. In 2003, Howard signed to play with the Clearwater Threshers in the Florida State League. The first baseman impressed the Phillies by hitting .304 with 23 homeruns and 82 RBI’s. Howard was named League MVP and Philadelphia awarded him with their Paul Owens Award as the team’s top minor league prospect.
Howard joined the big team on September 1st 2004. In 19 games, the lefty hit .282 with 2 homeruns an five RBI’s. He added five doubles to his resume and it was clear he was a bona fide major leaguer.
In 2005, Ryan shared first base duties with free agent acquisition Jim Thome until July 1st, when Thome was injured. In 88 games, Howard hit .288 with 23 homeruns and 63 RBI’s. In addition to settling into the front line first base duties, Howard was voted Rookie of The Year.
Baseball would soon become aware that Howard was a multi-dimensional player whose defensive play often excelled. But, the Phillies needed a power hitter in the middle of the lineup and that is what Howard provided. In his first full season, the slugger belted 58 homeruns, drove in 149 base runners and hit a solid .313. Howard earned the prestigious Hank Aaron Award, was voted to the All Star team and named the leagues 2006 MVP.
Howard was also named to the All Star team in 2009 and 2010. On September 8, 2010, Ryan belted his 250th homerun to surpass Ralph Kiner as the only person to hit 250 homers in just 855 at bats.
Howard has become a very real offensive threat that other teams have to pitch around or at least handle with care. The big guy has 453 career walks. If Philadelphia wins the NL, you can bet that Ryan Howard will have a late season hitting streak to lead the way.
RYAN HOWARD CAREER STATS