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Ryan Howard’s Award-Filled November…

       
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              Ryan Howard       Ryan Howard

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has had an awards-filled November.  If  Reggie Jackson is forever remembered as “Mr. October”, than Howard is worthy of “Mr. November” for the multitude of awards, plaques and honors bestowed upon him this month which still has 8 more days to go.

Well actually, the honors started flowing Ryan Howard’s way 11 days into October with his receiving the Sporting News Player of the Year Award.  Then on October 29, he was honored along with Derek Jeter with presentation of the Hank Aaron Award.  But the deluge of awards was yet to begin.

              Ryan Howard         Ryan Howard

The MLB All Stars travelled to Japan to take on the Japanese All Stars in what has become an annual exhibition series.  During the first 9 days of November, Howard decimated Japanese pitching with 5 homers, some monumental tape-measure jobs, in the 6 games (including the opening “friendly” exhibition game) and was awarded Japan Tour MVP honors.

On November 9, Howard received more honors outpolling Albert Pujols for Player of the Year and NL Outstanding Player Awards.

And finally, 2 days ago on November 20, Howard won the most coveted award of all, the NL MVP award once again outpolling Pujols for the honor.  Howard thus is one of the few to win MVP honors in his second year after first winning Rookie of the Year honors in the previous season, 2005.

Philadelphia Columnist Bill Conlin says it all at the conclusion of a column devoted to Ryan Howard and his awards;

Mr. November has pretty much won it all. Any of the 11 major awards to fall his way in less than two full seasons would have been career highlights for a lesser star. Or, enough for a good team during a hot decade.

Now it is time for Gillick to delve back into the Rolodex he keeps in his head and continue the most important job he has had since taking the helm of baseball’s Flying Dutchmen.

Gillick has to start putting the pieces in place that will make a new and even more important nickname possible for Ryan Howard, 2006 National League MVP:   Mr. October.

(*Pat Gillick is the Phillies General Manager.)

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