2008 Regular Season
The Big Piece is a fitting nickname for Howard because the argument can be made that he was the biggest piece that contributed to the success of those teams. This can be validated by taking a closer look at the 2008 World Series season.
Howard had his second-best season as a pro in 2008 finishing with 48 home runs, 146 RBIs, 105 runs scored and a batting average of .251. These numbers would have Howard at the top or among the league leaders in many offensive categories. Howard was first in home runs and RBI, tied for sixth in extra-base hits and tied for fifth in total bases.
For home runs and RBI, no other players were relatively close, as Howard had eight more home runs than Adam Dunn who was second in the league with 40 and finished with 16 more RBI than Josh Hamilton who finished second with 130.
While Howard did not walk away with his second MVP award after his 2008 campaign, he did finish second in the voting to Albert Pujols who batted .356 that season with 37 bombs and 116 RBI.
Howard over the course of his career has earned the nickname Mr. September. He lived up to this nickname in the final month of the 08 season batting .352 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs.
This helped the Phillies take over first place in the NL East from the Mets who had a 3.5 game lead over the Phillies with 17 games left to play. Without the month Howard put together, it is possible the Phillies may have fallen short of the playoffs that season as this was when there was only one wild card spot in each league.