Ryan Howard hit his 200th career home run, reaching the milestone in fewer games than any player in major league history:
The 29-year-old Howard hit his 23rd homer of the season in the sixth inning to reach the 200 milestone in 658 games, fewer than any player in major league history. Ralph Kiner, previously the fastest player to reach 200 home runs, did it in 706 games.
"It's a nice feat," Howard said. "It's a nice record to have. I'll take it and run with it."
He won't run nearly as far as he could have, however, because after "200," the second most significant number in that paragraph is "29." As in Howard's age, which is pretty advanced for a slugger with his talents to be getting his 200th home run. Howard did not play a full season in the bigs until 2006, when he was 26. This despite the fact that he went .291/.380/.637 with 46 home runs in 131 games between AA and AAA in 2004. As of now, he's roughly the same age as Albert Pujols, but 150 home runs behind him.
Not that raw home run totals matter too terribly much in the grand scheme of things. It's just that Howard kind of fascinates me as a player, and he's someone whom I would have liked to have seen in the bigs earlier than I did.