PHILADELPHIA -- The Big Piece returned to Citizens Bank Park on Sunday afternoon, fittingly, hitting behind Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley in this summer’s retirement ceremonies.
Ryan Howard finished his 13-year career as the greatest first baseman in Phillies history, winning the 2006 National League Most Valuable Player Award, the 2005 National League Rookie of the Year Award and helping the Phillies win the 2008 World Series. The Phillies won five consecutive NL East championships from 2007-11, when Howard hit cleanup for Charlie Manuel’s Phillies.
“Man, this is dope,” Howard said about the ceremony.
The Phillies had a few surprise congratulatory messages for Howard on Phanavision. It started with actor B.J. Novak, who played the character Ryan Howard on NBC’s hit The Office. Novak correctly pointed out that both Howards won awards in their careers with Novak’s character on The Office winning a prestigious “Dundie.”
Mike Trout and Ken Griffey Jr. also congratulated Howard on his ceremony.
Howard thanked former general manager Ed Wade, former hitting coach Milt Thompson, former Class A Clearwater manager Roly de Armas and Manuel -- all of whom had an impact on his career. He also said a special thank you to the late David Montgomery.
He then implored fans to cheer the current team.
“Damn it, they’re trying,” Howard said. “Don’t ever boo these men. I’m out.”