2006 MVP Award Winner Ryan Howard
Say what you will about the latter part of Ryan Howard‘s career, but he was a force to be a reckoned with at the plate when he broke onto the major-league scene. Just a year removed from winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 2005, Howard upped the ante in his sophomore season in 2006.
Howard absolutely demolished baseballs in 2006 in the heart of the Phillies order. He led the league with 58 home runs and 149 RBI, both of which are also single-season records among all Phillies players. Along with power, Howard posted an impressive .313/.425/.659 line that year.
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Howard actually finished tenth among all hitters in Fangraphs wins above replacement with 5.9 fWAR, with runner-up Albert Pujols leading the league with 8.1 fWAR.
The vote was fairly close between Howard and Pujols with Howard receiving just 41 more points than Pujols. Howard received 20 first-place votes; Pujols received 12. In the end, Howard’s higher home run and RBI total outweighed Pujols’s higher averages.
Howard came close to his second MVP award in 2008 when the Phillies won their second World Series.
Pujols got his revenge, beating out Howard for the award this time around. Howard’s 48 home runs and 146 RBI both led the league, but this time around Pujols’s better hitting line carried more weight. He beat out Howard 18-12 in first-place voting.