The ‘Phillies 50’ series position player representative from the 1996 ball club is a player who made brief appearances in three different seasons in Major League Baseball with three different organizations, the Phillies falling right in the middle.
Howard Battle was 24-years-old when he appeared in five games with those 1996 Phillies, getting no starts and playing in one game at third base. He went 0-5 with two strikeouts during those late-June games. It was about as nondescript a contribution as a player could make.
Battle had been the fourth round choice of the Toronto Blue Jays during the 1990 MLB Amateur Draft out of high school in his native Mississippi. He would debut in the big-leagues with the Jays, playing in nine games when rosters were expanded in September of the 1995 season. Howard registered his first hit with a single off Boston Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield at Fenway Park on September 23, 1995.
In December 1995 the Blue Jays dealt him along with lefty pitching prospect Ricardo Jordan to the Phillies in exchange for veteran reliever Paul Quantrill. After his brief appearance with the Phillies in 1996 the club released him in September and he was scooped up by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Battle would battle through the minor league system of both the Dodgers and Chicago White Sox over the next couple of years before signing as a free agent with the Atlanta Braves in June 1998. Atlanta gave him one last major league opportunity with 15 games and 19 plate appearances in the 1999 season.
Over the next five years Battle remained in the game. He played at the Triple-A level with the Cincinnati Reds organization in 2000, back with the Braves in 2001, and in the Montreal Expos system in 2001. In between came a stint with Hanshin in the Japanese Pacific League for 13 games in 2000. Howard then played independent ball in 2002-03 before walking away from the game at age 31.