Stats and Ranks
Some Interesting Stats and Facts
- 10th most HR in a season in MLB history. 4th most among players who haven’t been linked to steroids (behind only Maris and Ruth).
- 10 more HR than any other season in Phillies history
- 2nd most RBI in Phillies history
- Most total bases by a Phillie since 1932
- Most intentional walks in Phillies history (37)
- Only Babe Ruth (1921, 1927) and Sammy Sosa (1998, 2001) eclipsed Howard’s season in both HR and RBI
- Highest OPS by a Phillies player since 1929, 3rd highest ever
Why He’s Here
Ryan Howard’s 2006 season, much like Jim Thome’s career (among others) is one of the many “victims” of the steroid era. Remember 1998? When the entire country went crazy over McGwire and Sosa? Like, CRAZY? That’s what it would have been in 2006 with Ryan Howard had the juiced up McGwire, Sosa and Bonds not made 50+ HR seasons feel like commonplace. Instead, Howard’s chase towards 61 HR’s was covered as just another big-power season.
This season is here because is it absolutely the best pure power/run production season in team history. No one else has hit 50 HR’s in Phillies history, let alone almost 60. Mike Schmidt never came within 28 of Howard’s RBI total, and only Chuck Klein surpassed it. And what I remember distinctly about this season, is that his HR and RBI totals could have been a lot more. On Sept 8th, Howard had 56 HR and 138 RBI. He was on pace for 65 HR and 159 RBI. But pitches just flat out stopped pitching to him. He was walked 42 times in his final 21 games, and almost always walked with anyone on base. He couldn’t quite get to those crazy milestones of 60 HR and 150 RBI.
His final 2 months of the season are probably the most dominant I will see from a Phillies hitter in my lifetime. In the 58 games played from August 1st on, Howard hit .365 with 23 HR and 62 RBI. His OPS was an off-the-charts 1.263. This propelled him to an MVP award and the memory of this season helped him get an ill-advised contract extension some 4 years later.
Since that season, pitchers have figured out Howard a bit (the % of fastballs thrown to him has gone down every year he’s been in the league) and teams have played the shift on him. As a result, it’s unlikely we will see a season like this again (though I do think he could hit .300 if the shift was made illegal). But we DID see it in 2006, and will always remember it.
#10. Dick Allen, 1966
#11. Jimmy Rollins, 2007
#12. Billy Hamilton, 1894
#13. Ed Delahanty, 1895
#14. Curt Schilling, 1997
#15 - Lefty O’Doul, 1929
#16 - Brad Lidge, 2008
#17 - Chris Short, 1964
#18 - John Denny, 1983
#19 - Tug McGraw, 1980
#20 - Greg Luzinksi, 1977
#21 - Gavvy Cravath, 1913
#22 - Lenny Dykstra, 1993
Five pitchers that just missed (and criteria for rankings)