Monday, April 28, 2014
STL MLB Player of the Week #11
Ryan James Howard was born in STL on November 19, 1979. He went to Lafayette High School the same school that David Freese attended. No surprise he grew up a Cardinals’ fan. After graduation from high school he went to Missouri State University in Springfield. A word about MO State, before I moved to Michigan it was called Southwest Missouri State and to be honest this is where the really hot, but not really smart, girls went. OK, back to the player at hand. He played at MO State from 1998 to 2001. In college he had a total of 50 home runs, 183 RBIs, and a .335 BA in 172 games. In 1999 he was MO Valley Conference Freshman of the year. His number was retired by the school on December 18, 2010. He was selected by the Phillies in the 5th round of the 2001 draft. He had a spectacular minor league carrier and quickly worked his way up to the big club. For example he became the 5th minor league player since 1956 to hit 46 home runs. The only hold up for Ryan was a guy named Jim Thome.
On September 1, 2004 he made his début with the Phillies and promptly struck out at his first at bat. But that was a hiccup as he finished the season very strong. On July 1st, 2005 an injury to Thome gave Ryan the opening he needed and this culminated in his being named NL Rookie of the year for 2005. Ryan became the starting first baseman for the Phillies opening day 2006. On September 3 he went 4-for-4 with three home runs. He was the first Philly to do this and only the 24th in MLB history. For 2006 he would have a .313 BA, 58 home runs, 149 RBIs, and over 100 walks. Ryan won several awards for his performance in 2006 including being named a silver slugger, and more importantly NL MVP. I am not going to give a detailed history of his MLB career, but it is important to note that he and the Phillies were World Series Champions for 2008. Over the last few years he has been plagued by injuries and hasn’t played to his ability.
The cards I have chosen for this post is the 2001 Upper Deck Prospect Premier #62. This is a bad A*& photo of Ryan. He is telling the camera I dare you to pitch to me ‘cause I will crush it, the other card is a 2009 O-Pee-Chee mini. Readers probably remember how much I love the 2009 O-Pee-Chee issue and if I get the promotion I am up for at work a box will be sent my way. Back to the card, I love the color; the photo shows his preparation for an at bat. The obverse is clear, simple, and to the point as other OPCs.