Ryan Howard finishes 2nd in National League MVP ballotting.

Howard finishes second in MVP voting

Slugger gets 12 first-place votes, but Cards’ Pujols wins award

Despite missing the playoffs that season, the Phillies had a better record than the Cardinals, and Howard’s 58 homers and 149 RBIs were too significant to ignore.

In 2008, Pujols won that argument for the same reason and captured the NL MVP Award, though Howard’s monstrous September and Major League-leading home run and RBI totals made the race much closer. Pujols may have had his best season, which is saying a lot for one of the game’s elite sluggers.

Howard received 12 first-place votes — six fewer than Pujols — and was named first, second or third on 31 of the 32 ballots submitted by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Teammate and closer Brad Lidge, who went 41-of-41 in save opportunities during the regular season, received the other two first-place votes, and finished eighth with 104 points. Chase Utley received 30 total points for a 15th-place finish. He was named on nine ballots, none higher than fourth.

Howard’s second-place finish brings the honor back to St. Louis, where Pujols won in ’05 before giving way to Howard in ’06 and shortstop Jimmy Rollins in ’07.

“I can only control what I do on the field, and if it’s good enough [for MVP], so be it,” Howard said in September, when he batted .352 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs.

As dominating as Howard’s September was, Pujols practically did that every month while compiling arguably his finest season. The St. Louis slugger batted .357, two points shy of his career high, and set new personal bests with a .462 on-base percentage, a 1.115 OPS and 104 walks. He slugged .653, nearly 30 points better than his career average, and cranked 37 homers and 44 doubles. Pujols drove in 116 runs, scored 100 and struck out just 54 times. He never hit lower than .302 in any month, never had an OBP lower than .413 and never slugged below .558.

Howard endured some painful cold spells, notably April (.168), August (.213) and June (.234) before heating up for the final month. Without Howard’s hot stretch, the Phillies might not have qualified for the postseason.

“He got hot when we needed him, and we were able to get on his back for the ride,” Shane Victorino said, before the NL Division Series. “That was huge.”

And like Pujols in ’06, Howard can look at his World Series ring as the ultimate accomplishment. 

2008 NL MVP Award Voting
Player, Club 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th Points
Albert Pujols, STL 18 10 2 1     1       369
Ryan Howard, PHI 12 8 6   1 1 2     1 308
Ryan Braun, MIL   2 3 5 5 2 2 3 2 1 139
Manny Ramirez, LAD   2 4 7 2 3 2   1 2 138
Lance Berkman, HOU   2 4 4 1 3 3 4 1 1 126
CC Sabathia, MIL   4 5 1 2 2 3   1 2 121
David Wright, NYM   2 1 4 3 3 2 5 2 1 115
Brad Lidge, PHI 2   2   4 3 2 3 1 2 104
Carlos Delgado, NYM     5 1 2 5   2 3   96
Aramis Ramirez, CHC       2 4 1 1 4 3 1 66
Hanley Ramirez, FLA       2 2 2 1 2 2 5 55
Chipper Jones, ATL   1       2 4 1 2 2 44
Geovany Soto, CHC       3 1   3   1   41
Johan Santana, NYM   1   1   1 1   2 1 30
Chase Utley, PHI       1 1 1 1   3 2 30
Ryan Ludwick, STL             1 2 3 1 17
Brandon Webb, ARI         2       1   14
Adrian Gonzalez, SD             1 1 1 4 13
Matt Holliday, COL           1 1 1   1 13
Prince Fielder, MIL           1   1 1 1 11
Derrek Lee, CHC         1   1       10
Carlos Beltran, NYM         1     1   1 10
Tim Lincecum, SF           1     1 2 9
Jose Reyes, NYM               1     3
Jose Valverde, HOU               1     3
Stephen Drew, ARI                 1   2
Nate McLouth, PIT                   1 1

(H/T Phillies.com, MVP Ballot Voting: MLB.com)

Once again, congrats on the win Pujols. You had the better overall record this year. Howard, you have some work to do during the post-season. A lot of work.

2 Comments

Everyone around here thought Howard was a lock for MVP. Even with our very own coming in 3rd…Ryan Braun.

Congrats on a great season and keep up the good work!

When you get a chance, stop by and check out my first video post.

http://thehappyyoungster.mlblogs.com/

Thanks. Well, everyone might have thought that Howard had it lock, if you’re a Phillies fans, you knew that his almsot season long slump was going to do him in during the voting, and sadly, it did.
Thanks for the congrats, and I hope the team next year will be able to do something no other Phillies team has done in its history. Win two straight World Series crowns. Keeping fingers cross, but being a true Phillies fan, expecting the worst.
I’ll try to check you video post when I get the chance.

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