Former Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard announced his retirement on Tuesday, ending a 13-year career after being out of the game for almost two full seaons
In a piece for The Players' Tribune titled "Thank You, Philly", Howard took a look back on his career and his admiration for the city of Philadelphia and its fans:
"And that was it.… my Major League debut. Fourteen years ago, almost to the day. And now here I am, 14 years later, writing you this letter. I’m officially announcing my retirement from the game of baseball."
Howard led the Phillies to the 2008 World Series championship, plus another appearance in the 2009 Fall Classic. He guided the team to five straight NL East division titles from 2007-2011, reaching the NLCS three times.
A three-time All-Star, Howard was also named the 2006 NL MVP after batting .313 with 58 home runs, 1439 RBI and an OPS of 1.084. He also won the 2006 Home Run Derby at PNC Park In Pittsburgh.
Howard led the majors in homers during the 2006 and 2008 seasons, and in RBI in those two years as well as 2009. He was named the 2005 NL Rookie of the Year and won the NL Hank Aaron Award and Silver Slugger Award in 2006. His career ends with a .258 batting average, 1,475 hits, 382 home runs and 1,194 RBI.
Unfortunately, Howard's career began to go downhill after tearing his Achilles tendon during the decisive Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS, a 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. He missed the beginning of the 2012 season and fractured a toe, which led to a waste of a year.
A left meniscus tear forced Howard to miss more than half of the 2013 season, and he was never able to regain that old All-Star form. Nonetheless, Howard's legacy in Philadelphia is set, and he has an outside chance of getting inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame someday.
It's unclear what the next chapter holds for Howard. He's married with two daughters and one son, so you can bet this humble man will be spending more time with his family.