PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ryan Howard’s farewell game with the Philadelphia Phillies was filled with standing ovations and ended with a win.
Cesar Hernandez hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh inning, and the Phillies beat the playoff-bound New York Mets 5-2 on Sunday.
Howard, the last player remaining from the 2008 World Series championship team, was honored in a pregame ceremony. The Phillies are planning to pay Howard a $10 million buyout instead of exercising a $23 million club option for 2017.
“It’s amazing the appreciation from the organization and the fans,” Howard said. “To have it recognized, it’ll live with me forever.”
Howard, who turns 37 next month, thanked fans and the organization and saluted teammates in an emotional speech. The 2006 NL MVP choked up a few times and fought back tears when he told the crowd: “My family has grown with all of you.”
Howard was 0 for 4, but he received several standing ovations and got a curtain call after popping out in the eighth. He finished the season with a .196 batting average and hit 25 homers, tying Maikel Franco for the team lead.
Howard got a final ovation after Tommy Joseph replaced him to start the ninth. He embraced Joseph near first base while Phillies and Mets players clapped. Howard then walked through the dugout and hugged everyone before coming out to wave to fans.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Howard said. “Seeing the people and the videos, it hit me all at once. It was great. Philadelphia will always be home.”
Howard isn’t ready to call it a career, especially after a strong finish — he hit .267 with 11 homers and 29 RBIs in only 101 at-bats from Aug. 1 on.
“I know there’s more in the tank,” he said. “I’ll know when it’s time.”
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