Ryan Howard's legacy with the Philadelphia Phillies has been a hot topic in recent weeks, as his time with the team comes to a close. The team will buy him out of his $23 million option for 2017 following the season. Despite his decline, it's not only hard, but impossible, to imagine the Phillies winning five straight National League East division championships, as well as going to back-to-back World Series, without him.
After all, this is a man that won National League Rookie of the Year honors in 2005, was the National League MVP in 2006, was the NLCS MVP in 2009, led all of Major League Baseball in home runs twice, as well as leading the league in runs batted in three times.
Setting his play from the past couple years aside - when you used to think of the word 'Phillies,' you thought Ryan Howard. You thought of the stance we all imitated, the clutch moments he brought the city of Philadelphia, and that wide, pearly white smile.
You thought of him as the fastest player in MLB history to hit 100, 150, 200 and 250 home runs to start a career, and you also thought of him as the all-time leader in career grand slams by a Phillies player, passing Mike Schmidt for the lead back in 2009.
Albeit this season was not the most competitive year for the team, being in the midst of a rebuild, Howard is still showing some pop at the plate.
Despite toting an abysmal .196 batting average this season in 107 games, he has managed to smash 24 home runs - the most home runs he's hit since 2011 when he belted 33 while playing 152 games for the Phillies. This season, Howard is homering in 6.92% of his plate appearances.
His 24th home run of the year came off Julio Teheran last night in the top of the first inning, belting a grand slam to bring home three potentially big pieces of the future - Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera and Roman Quinn.
Previously 70th all-time on the career Major League Baseball home run list, last night's grand slam ties him with Albert Belle at 69th all-time with 381 career home runs.