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Ryan Howard – MVP
In 2006, their first full year together, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley were nothing short of spectacular. Howard was voted National League Most Valuable Player after delivering 58 home runs and 149 runs batted in. The 58 home runs shattered Mike Schmidt’s franchise record 48, set in 1980. Home runs 50, 51, and 52 came against Atlanta’s Tim Hudson on September 3 at the Bank in an 8-7 Phillies’ win. Utley was not far behind with 32 home runs and 105 RBIs; from the end of June until the beginning of August he put together a 35-game hitting streak.
Once again the team battled until the final day of the season before missing the playoffs. The Division champion, after 15 years, was finally a team other than the Atlanta Braves. The Mets, led by Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, and Billy Wagner (40 saves), led from start to finish and entered September with a 15 ½ -game lead over the second-place Phillies. San Diego and Los Angeles tied for the Western Division championship, 2 ½ games ahead of the Phillies for the Wild Card representative.
On August 19, GM Gillick obtained 43-year-old lefthander Jamie Moyer in a trade with Seattle for two Andrews and one cheesesteak. Moyer won his first game as a Philly on August 22 at Chicago’s Wrigley Field where he had made his Major League debut 20 years earlier; he won five and lost two for the 2006 Phillies.
Around Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley there were mutterings of “foul” when a September 26 game in Washington, crucial to the Wild Card Race, was lost by the Phillies due to an incorrect call by an umpire.
Chase Utley’s line drive hit the pole.
Umpire called foul, leaving Phils in a hole.
To say Umps are blind
is not being unkind,
it is simply a test of our soul.
The lost three runs denied us our goal.
Washington – 4, Philadelphia – 3.