He was known as “The Big Piece.” Ryan Howard, who spent 13 seasons in the majors has decided that there isn’t any more baseball left in him and he has officially announced his retirement from the game. Howard wrote an article for The Player’s Tribune in which he detailed his career and officially announced that he was stepping away.
“Thank you to the crazy game that I’ll miss and the crazy city that I love. And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to the most passionate group of fans in the world,” said Ryan in the article.
Howard, who is now 38, was drafted in the fifth round of the 2001 Draft by the Phillies and made his MLB debut on September 1, 2004 against Atlanta. It was the beginning of a big era in Phillies history with the opening of Citizens Bank Park and an up-and-coming group of young players ready to leave their mark on Phillies baseball history.
The first baseman played in 1,572 games for the Phillies and wraps up his career with a line of 382-1194-.258/.343/.515 and having won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2005 and the Most Valuable Player Award in 2006. He also finished in the top five in MVP balloting three other times.
Howard became a free agent following the 2016 season and signed with the Braves but was released a month later. He signed last August with the Colorado Rockies but didn’t play for them in the majors. He was again a free agent following last season and went unsigned.
With his playing career declining, Howard started the transition into the business world when he partnered with SeventySix Capital, a sports technology firm.
Howard was never quite the same after rupturing his Achilles tendon in the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals in 2011. Howard went down in a heap just outside the batter’s box when he hit into what would be the final out of the series. He played just 71 games the following season and eighty games in 2013. He did recover some of his power stroke over the final three seasons of his career when he hit 71 home runs over three seasons but was still well shy of his normal power numbers. His average over those three seasons dipped to just .219 as well.
The Reading Fightin’ Phils inducted Howard into their Hall of Fame this past summer. It was a rough summer for former members of the 2008 World Series team as Chase Utley, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth all announced their retirement from the game.