Ranking the Top 5 greatest first basemen in Phillies franchise history

The Phillies are a storied franchise with a long history and have had many great first basemen don the red pinstripes. Let's rank the top 5 greatest first basemen in Phillies history.
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No. 1: Ryan Howard

Ryan Howard, "The Big Piece," immediately made his presence known when he came onto the scene in 2004, but Howard’s official rookie year was kicked off in May of 2005 for an injured Jim Thome. The 25-year-old saw his opportunity, grabbed it by the horns, and never looked back, winning Rookie of the Year with a slash line of .288/.356/.567, an OPS of .924, while hitting 22 home runs and 63 RBI in just 88 games.

Howard is the franchise’s all-time leader among first basemen 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).

Narrow it down to the years from 2006-2011, and the numbers are mind-boggling. In that six-year period, he slashed .274/.370/.559 with an OPS of .929 and averaged 44 home runs, 133 RBI, 96 runs scored, and 84 walks. He won MVP in 2006 after hitting .313/.425/.659 with 58 home runs, 149 RBI, 104 runs scored, and 108 walks. That is quite possibly the most dominant season Phillies fans have ever witnessed.

With those career numbers and that high of a peak, he's the greatest Phillies first baseman, full stop. But that isn’t the half of it. Ryan Howard is one of the stalwarts of one of the most successful eras in franchise history. The team won five straight division titles from 2007 to 2011, appearing in the World Series in back-to-back years, and winning one in 2008.

Howard left the Phillies in free agency after the 2016 season but didn't suit up in a major league game in 2017 before eventually retiring. Though the end of his career didn’t go as anyone wanted, Howard put on a show for many years and will be remembered as the greatest first baseman in Phillies history.

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