Rookie Card Year: 2003
Investment Rating: 8.0
Ryan Howard was drafted in the fifth round of the 2001 MLB Draft. At the time, his propensity to hit strictly for power and his label as a pull hitter caused many teams to pass on him. However, the Philadelphia Phillies were willing to take a chance and the decision has paid off.
Quickly rising through the ranks of the club's farm system, Howard became just the fifth player in history to hit at least 46 home runs in a season as a minor leaguer. During that time, hitting instructors worked with him on situational hitting, hitting to all fields and learning the basics of pitch awareness. As a result, not only did his power numbers increase but his average did as well.
A late-season call-up in 2004, Howard proved that he belonged at the big league level. However it wasn't until July of 2005 that he became the everyday starting first basemen for the Phillies. Despite his relatively young age, Howard has already racked up an impressive list of statistics, accomplishments and accolades including the 2005 National League Rookie of the Year Award, 2006 NL MVP and Silver Slugger Award. He has led the league in home runs twice and RBIs three times. Howard is also an NL Championship MVP, 2008 World Series winner, and the youngest player to reach 100 and 200 career home runs.
Playing in a big market like Philadelphia, coming off recent postseason success and displaying consistent power numbers have stabilized Howard as a favorite in the collectibles market. As long as he stays healthy, Howard is sure to be a 500 Home Run Club member and, quite possibly, a 600 Home Run Club member. Howard's autographs, game-used bats and rookie cards are highly desirable and can command huge dollars on the secondary market. Single-signed baseballs will eventually see a spike in value as he approaches major career milestones. All of his rookie cards come from products released in 2003 and are detailed below. His most popular, and valuable rookie card is the 2003 Bowman's Best #RH and it is his only autographed rookie card.
It's also worth noting that Howard also appeared in 2001 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres. Although the set was licensed by Major League Baseball, it wasn't approved by the MLBPA. So while not a true rookie card, many collectors recognize its significance as the slugger's first major baseball card.
Ryan Howard Rookie Card Checklist
Mid-Range Rookie Cards
Premium Rookie Cards