Baseball is a game of numbers, but more than anything it is a game of moments. In 2009, Ryan Howard once again had little trouble racking up numbers: His 45 home runs gave him 222 for his career, and his 141 RBI made it four straight seasons with at least 136.
But it was a single moment, and a now-legendary phrase - "Just get me to the plate, boys" - that provided the seminal moment of his still-young career.
It was Game 4 of the NLDS, in freezing Denver, and the Phillies were one out away from heading back to Philly for a decisive Game 5. Two outs. Two on. Two strikes. Trailing by two. Rockies closer Huston Street delivers, and so does Howard, driving a double to rightfield that sends Shane Victorino and Chase Utley scurrying home to tie the game.
One batter later, it was Howard dashing around third on a single by Jayson Werth, and it was the Phillies heading to their second straight National League Championship Series.
The star already had been born.
But now he has his moment.
- David Murphy