A-Rod and Howard Shine This Postseason

Antonelli/News, Laham/Getty

By the time Ryan Howard was drafted by the Phillies in the fifth round in June 2001, Alex Rodriguez was two months into his record $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers, already a bona fide star with several playoff trips under his belt with the Mariners.

When the lefty-hitting Howard made his major league debut at home against the Braves three years later - Sept. 1, 2004 - it was an inauspicious outing. Pinch-hitting for pitcher Vicente Padilla, Howard struck out looking against Jaret Wright. Rodriguez was by then five months into his debut season in pinstripes, the star Yankee third baseman on a team littered with All-Stars. A-Rod already had one MVP award (2003), and was en route to a historic playoff series against the Red Sox.

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