First baseman Ryan Howard put up some amazing statistics in his 13-year MLB career, most of which are tied to his prodigious power hitting. As all baseball fans know, swinging for the fences also leads to a lot of strikeouts with Howard tallying more than 1,800 whiffs with an average of 190 Ks per year in his career with the Philadelphia Phillies. It was a small consolation for his 382 home runs, putting Howard second all-time in Phillies history behind Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.
In sports, you get what you pay for.
Beyond homers, Ryan Howard has impressive Phillies stats
With 1,194 RBIs, Howard is third all-time among Phillies batters behind Schmidt and Ed Delahanty. Howard is fourth all-time for the Phillies in extra-base hits and second in intentional walks.
In 2006, in addition to winning the MVP, Ryan Howard won the Home Run Derby in an exciting overtime slugfest, beating Mets third baseman David Wright, 23-22.
Howard did not become a regular in the Phillies lineup until he was 26. But, making up for lost time, he became the fastest player in major league history to reach 1,000 RBIs as well as 100 and then 200 career home runs.
While impressive but also ignominious, Howard holds the MLB record for Golden Sombreros, the honor of striking out four times in one game. He amassed 27 such swing-and-miss events in his career.
Ryan Howard’s price for home run power
The price of power comes high. For Howard’s time in the majors, he earned a whopping $180.3 million, which amounted to $115,000 per game. Howard hit a home run in 24% of the games he played for the Phillies, receiving about $472K per home run.
While that might seem exorbitant, consider that former Mariner-Ranger-Yankee Alex Rodriguez earned more than $142K per game for his 22-year career, getting about $457K per home run. Just as a comparison, in 2020 dollars, Babe Ruth earned $12.7 million for his 22 seasons, and with his 714 homers, he was paid a paltry $17,800 per moon shot.
Dollars for dingers does not show Howard’s worth
Howard’s dollar for dingers rate is an unfair measure of his value. His $180.3 million career earnings were backloaded. Roughly 33% of that total came over his last three seasons in the bigs, which were, because of injury, among his least productive years.
In 2011, Howard suffered a serious Achilles injury in a playoff game against the Cardinals and was never the same. In his final four seasons, playing on one foot, Howard hit only 82 home runs with OPS averages more than 100 points below his career average.
Ryan Howard won the National League MVP award in 2006 after earning $355,000 for the season. That year, he hit 58 home runs, which are a little over $6K per round-tripper. The following year, the balance between power and payoff began to take hold with the left-handed slugger making $900,000 with 47 homers, which amount to $19K per four-bagger, a more than 300% increase over the previous year.