Ryan Stands Alone
Here are the facts:
**Thursday, August 31, 2006
**RFK Stadium, Washington, DC
**Pitcher, RH Pedro Astacio
**Hitter, Ryan Howard
The result, as we all know, was Howard’s 49th home run that broke Mike Schmidt’s single-season record for the Phillies. It was a typical Howard blast, a towering upper-deck home run. The ball bounced back onto the field so Ryan has yet another ball for his expanding trophy case.
Howard, 26, was drafted in the fifth round in the summer of 2001 out of Southwest Missouri State University. As a junior, he didn’t perform as well as he did his first two college years. Scouts felt that dropped him down in the draft. A total of 139 players were taken in front of him.
Jerry Lafferty is the Phillies scout for that region. He had followed Howard from high school through college. Other Phillies scouts also saw him play that spring, a routine when it comes to the higher profile prospects.
Marti Wolever is the Phillies’ Director of Scouting. He was there on May 29, 2001, and filed the following report:
Physical Description: Large-framed, huge-bodied athlete. Long legs. Similar in build to Willie Mays Aiken.
Abilities: Low ball, fast ball hitter with above average power from pole to pole. Above average bat speed from loft approach with occasional short routes to ball offensively. Average to slightly above average hands at first base. Decent runner.
Summation: May have best raw power of 2001 draft. Better as a sophomore and USA last summer. Reminds me of John Mayberry and Aikens. Would gamble on power.
Five years later, that power has enabled Howard to stand alone among Phillies home run hitters for one season:
No. Name Year
49* Ryan Howard 2006
48 Mike Schmidt 1980
45 Mike Schmidt 1979
43 Chuck Klein 1929
41 Cy Williams 1923
24 Gavvy Cravath 1915
*Like the Energizer bunny, still going and going…