Phillies legend Ryan Howard proves he still has his sweet swing in Cooperstown

The Big Piece showed he still has his sweet left-handed swing, launching a home run and bringing home some hardware in the Hall of Fame East-West Classic.
Philadelphia Phillies legend Ryan Howard
Philadelphia Phillies legend Ryan Howard / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

From 2004 to 2016, Ryan Howard made a name for himself with the Philadelphia Phillies for his towering home runs and his sweet left-handed swing. When Howard got a hold of one, the long, sweeping swing that ended with the bat simply falling to the ground after his one-handed follow through, was a sight to behold.  

Phillies legend Ryan Howard proves he still has his sweet swing in Cooperstown

Phillies fans were reminded of the big power hitter’s sweet swing on Saturday when Howard crushed a three-run home run in the Hall of Fame East-West Classic that proved to be the game-winner. Howard put the East team ahead for good, and they won the game 5-4. For his efforts, the former Phillies first baseman won the Bob Feller Player of the Game award amongst a star-studded field.

The game featured former players and All-Stars Prince Fielder, Curtis Granderson, brothers B.J. and Justin Upton, Dexter Fowler, David Price and more. It also included 14 high profile Hall of Famers who served as coaches like Ken Griffey Jr., Ryne Sandberg, Joe Torre, and Rollie Fingers just to name a few.

Ryan Howard, who won Rookie of the Year and NL MVP award in back-to-back seasons in 2005 and 2006, was honored to be a part of the game that is a tribute to the legends of Black baseball and to the Negro League All-Star game.

“It continues to show the growth of the game, being able to recognize how important Black baseball is to the game of baseball and being able to showcase it up here in Cooperstown I think is very big,” Howard said after the game, per the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Bill Francis.

“For me, it’s just to continue to pay homage to those who paved the way for guys like myself," Howard said.

Howard was one of the most feared hitters in baseball history. From 2006 to 2011, he slashed .274/.370/.559 with an OPS of .929 and averaged 44 home runs, 133 RBI, 96 runs scored and 84 walks per season. That six-year stretch may very well be one of the greatest runs in the history of the game. In 2006, the year he won MVP, he hit .313/.425/.659 with 58 home runs, 149 RBI, 104 runs scored and 108 walks.

Further cementing his greatness, Howard is the Phillies franchise’s all-time leader for first baseman in games played (1,572), runs (848), hits (1,475), doubles (277), home runs (382), and RBI (1,194). He is second in slugging (.515) and fifth in OPS (.859).

Hopefully, one day Howard will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but for now, he's happy paying tribute to the players who came before him and paved the way. Plus, it’s never a bad time to be reminded of that sweet home run swing and Howard's extraordinary career.