Ryan Howard and the Phillies final three games are approaching, we ask the ultimate question: Will the Phillies retire Ryan Howard’s number six?
On Sunday the Phillies will honor Ryan Howard for his 13 years as a Philadelphia Phillie. One of the biggest cogs to the Phillies championship run, Ryan Howard was just as crucial to the Phillies success as any other member of the organization.
The specifics of the ceremony are being held extremely close to the vest, leaving speculation to what the Phillies have planned.
Earlier this week I guessed they’d present him with several gifts and have former teammates on hand to congratulate him on a remarkable career in Philadelphia.
Mike Schmidt will be in the house to broadcast the game, so it’s entirely plausible that the only Phillie to have more home runs than him will make an appearance.
Jimmy Rollins, Charlie Manuel, and Pat Burrell could also show up to present Howard with gifts and kind words.
But ultimately, will the Phillies present Howard with the ultimate honor: retiring of his number six?
Retiring a number is a major recognition. The Phillies franchise has only retired five numbers (Ashburn, Schmidt, Bunning, Carlton, Roberts) and all of which are Hall of Fame players. But this is a new era of Phillies baseball with different ownership and different philosophies in the boardroom.
I believe owner John Middleton will stand at the mic and tell Ryan no one will wear the number six again. While an official ceremony may not come until Howard is officially retired, acknowledging the plan would be a great first step.
Howard is second on the Phillies all-time home run list with 381. If he never tore his achillies, we could be talking over 450 career home runs.
He won the Rookie of the Year and MVP in consecutive years, and was a six-time MVP finalist.
Even if the Phillies don’t “unofficially” retire the number Sunday, the honor will someday be bestowed upon Ryan Howard. The organization doesn’t want to declare him dead and buried before he officially retires, and they’ll give him that respect.
But Ryan Howard is an all-time great Phillie, regardless of what people think when they look at the past couple of seasons. He deserves the honor just as much as Utley or Rollins, who I believe will also one day see their numbers go up.