SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Ryan Howard gets a good laugh when he sees some of the baseball cards fans send him to autograph.
That’s because they don’t picture Ryan Avery Howard, the 24-year-old minor league shortstop in the San Francisco Giants organization. Instead, they feature Ryan James Howard, the burly MVP slugger who played 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and retired after 2016.
The two don’t look anything alike. For starters, one is white and the other is black.
“I just laugh about it with the guys and make a joke,” the Giants infielder said Sunday.
Besides having the same name, both Howards are from the St. Louis area and were drafted in the fifth round.
The Giants’ Howard, born in St. Peters, Missouri, was selected in 2016 out of the University of Missouri. He batted .273 in 117 games last season at Double-A Richmond.
The Phillies’ Howard was drafted in 2001 out of Lafayette High School in Wildwood, Missouri. He hit 382 career home runs and had 1,194 RBIs in 1,572 games, winning the 2005 NL Rookie of the Year award and 2006 NL MVP.
“It’s a crazy story,” said San Francisco’s Ryan Howard. “We are kind of connected. He might not know who I am, but I know who he is. My goal is to get to where he got to.”
The Giants’ Howard began receiving his Phillies counterpart’s cards last season.
“It’s always a good laugh,” he said.
“I’ve never met him in person but I’ve heard nothing but good things about him and he’s a great guy from what I’ve heard. I’d like to meet him at some point. Hopefully down the road I’ll be able to do that.”