Phillies: Top five moments of Ryan Howard’s career

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UNITED STATES – AUGUST 26: Philadelphia Phillies’ first baseman Ryan Howard watches the flight of his grand slam home run to right field as he rounds the bases during the fifth inning of game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. The Phillies were held scoreless for the rest of the game as the Mets won, 11-5. (Photo by James Keivom/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images) /

No. 1: 2006 NL MVP

Howard just came off a Rookie of the Year campaign in 2005 and didn’t even have a full season’s worth of games under his belt. That’s what makes his 2006 season, the best of his career, all the more remarkable.

Starting the season with a home run against the Cardinals, Howard went through a home run drought over the next ten games. However, he was getting his share of hits, hitting .317. A two-home run game on April 23rd gave Howard five for the season and was hitting .343. He finished April with five home runs, 12 RBI and a .306 batting average.

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Howard got hot to start May, hitting three home runs and nine RBI over the first four games. He hit ten more home runs the rest of the month, ending May with 18 home runs and a .294 batting average.

A two-home run, seven RBI performance in a 9-7 loss to the Yankees on June 20th highlighted a month in which Howard went deep nine times. He was hitting .294 with 27 home runs 77 games through the season. Eight more long balls in June and Howard was at 35 through 101 games, putting Howard well ahead of Mike Schmidt’s franchise record 48 home runs in a single season.

Howard was hot at the start of August, collecting 12 hits and four home runs through the first six games of the month. He also ended the month hot, hitting home runs in four straight and six of the last eight with 16 RBI. Howard was up to 49 home runs for the season, for a franchise record.

By September 22nd, Howard had reached 58 home runs for the season and had an excellent shot at surpassing 60. However, he failed to homer in the last ten games.

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All told, Howard had a remarkable season, batting .313 with 58 home runs, 149 RBI and 104 runs scored. His efforts earned him 20 first-place votes for MVP, winning the honor over Albert Pujols.