It was Ryan Howard who brought me be back to Phillies baseball during the 2004 season. I had lost interest in the Phillies up until then. Even Jim Thome and the new ball ballpark could not reignite my interest lost from MLB baseball’s strike season in the 90’s.
As great as the 2016 has been for Reading’s Dylan Cozens and Rhys Hoskins they still have not measured up to Ryan Howard 2004 season, but almost. That season in 102 games and 374 at bats for Reading Howard slashed an amazing .297/.386/.647 with 37 home runs and 102 RBIs.
Howard would then get promoted to Scranton/Wilkes Barre where he would hit another 9 homers and drive in 29 more runs to end the 2004 minor league season. The Phillies rewarded him by calling him up that September to make his major league debut where he would hit two more homers and picked up five more RBIs. And a new era in Phillies baseball was born.
Amazingly, both Cozens and Hoskins sit at 397 at bats for the 2016 season and have almost identical offensive numbers for Reading while Ryan Howard is in no doubt his final Phillies season.
It was like passing the torch last night. In a rare start Howard homered to help the Phillies defeat the Giants at Citizens Bank Park while Cozens and Hoskins showed why they are the future of the Phillies in a 13-0 win at the old ballpark in Reading just as Howard was doing back in 2004.
Last night in his 103rd game of the season, Dylan Cozens had a career game with his three homers and a double to drive in seven runs. His slash line is now .282/.365/.597 with 30 homers and 96 RBIs.
Rhys Hoskins in his 104th game hit his minor league leading 31st home run last night. His slash line is now .282/.358/.577 with 31 homers and 96 RBIs.
Rhys Hoskins and Dylan Cozens may not be up to the Ryan Howard 2004 Reading standard but they are darn close. It will be interesting to see what the rest of the season holds for both of them.
We hope the torch was finally passed last night symbolizing a new era in Phillies baseball by the fact Howard, Cozens and Hoskins all went deep in victories.