1. Ryan Howard, Phillies 2004-16
Are you surprised?
Ryan Howard has a list of accomplishments as long as one of his towering home runs: Rookie of the Year, MVP, Silver Slugger, three-time All-Star, Home Run Derby champion, NLCS MVP, Hank Aaron Award, Major League Player of the Year, and a 2008 World Series ring.
After playing 19 games in his brief September 2004 debut, Howard burst on the scene in 2005, hitting 22 home runs in only 88 games to win NL ROY. He’d hit double-digit home runs in every season for the rest of his career, including 58 in 2006, and 40+ in each of the next three seasons
Howard was the second player in MLB history to win Rookie of the Year and then MVP the following season, following Cal Ripken. Dustin Pedroia would become the third in 2007-08.
The Phillies lifer led MLB in home runs twice in a three-year span and RBI three times in a four-year span. Between 2006-10, Howard drove in a whopping 572 runs and hit 198 homers. He is the fastest player in baseball history to reach both 100 (it only took him 325 career games) and 200 home runs, and the only Phillies player to ever hit 50+ home runs in a season.
“The Big Piece” also led the NL by playing in all 162 games in 2008, a feat of stamina that becomes even more impressive when you remember that the Phillies played an entire postseason that year, too.
Howard has the unfortunate distinction of holding the all-time record for Golden Sombrero awards (for four-strikeout games), with 27. He’s one of five players in MLB history with 20+ Golden Sombreros; fellow Phillies 1B Jim Thome is one of them.
Among Phillies first baseman, Howard is on top in games (1,572), plate appearances (6,531), hits (1,475), doubles (277), home runs (382), runs (848), and RBI (1,194).
Howard had a career .991 fielding percentage, but with how he hit, that number could’ve been cut in half and no one would’ve cared.