By Devon POV Mason | Contributor
Former Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard put up some amazing stats during his 13-year career in the majors, most of which was tied to his prodigious power at the plate.
As all baseball fans know, swinging for the fences also leads to a lot of strikeouts.
Howard tallied more than 1800 whiffs, with an average of 190 Ks per season during his career with the Phillies.
It was a small consolation, however, for the 382 dingers he smashed for the franchise in the “City of Brotherly Love.” Howard sits second all-time in homers in Phillies history trailing Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.
Howard also drove in 1,194 runs, ranking him third in Phillies history behind the aforementioned Schmidt and Ed Delahanty. He ranks fourth all-time in extra-base hits for the Phils and second in intentional walks. Case in point, pitchers feared him with players in scoring position.
In 2006, Howard won NL MVP, and the Home Run Derby in an exciting overtime slugfest, beating Mets star third baseman David Wright (23-22).
Howard was bit of a late bloomer as he didn’t become a regular in the Phils lineup until he was 26, but he had finally arrived.
But, he quickly made up for lost time, by becoming the fastest player in major league history to 1,000 RBIs as well as 100 and then 200 home runs.
While impressive but also ignominious, Howard also holds the MLB record for Golden Sombreros, the distinct honor of striking out four times in one game.
He amassed this swing-and-miss feat 27 times in his career.
The price of power comes high, for Howard’s time in the majors he earned a whopping $180.3 million, which in turn amounted to roughly $115,000 per game. Howard homered in 24% of the games played for the Phillies, receiving about $472K per long ball.
While that might seem exorbitant, consider that former Mariner-Ranger-Yankee star Alex Rodriguez earned more than $142K per game for his 22-year MLB career, and he was getting about $475K per dinger.
Just as a comparison, in 2020 dollars, Babe Ruth earned $12.7 million for his 22 seasons, and with his 714 homers, he was paid a paltry $17,800 per moon shot.
Howard’s dollar for dingers rate is an unfair measure of his value.
His $180 million career earnings were backloaded. Roughly 33% of that total came over his last three seasons the bigs, which were, because of injury, among his least productive years.
In 2011, Howard suffered a serious Achilles injury in a playoff game against the Cardinals and was never the same. In his final four seasons, he basically playing on one foot snd curtailing a sure shot Hall of Fame career.
The first eight years of Howard’s career were Hall of Fame worthy as he dominated MLB pitching and displayed historic power from his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2005 to the end of the 2011.
The game’s still searching for a Black first baseman with Howard’s skill, power and accolades.