Pop culture happens to currently boast two popular figures with the name “Ryan Howard” – one real, one not.  The real one is a first baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies, while the fake one is a character on NBC’s  The Office. The emergence of both has happened in the last few years and come fairly quickly. Whose is more impressive? You decide.

The case for the real one: After several years in the minors and a brief time with the Phillies in 2004, Howard immediately broke out in 2005 and won the National League Rookie of the Year award, hitting 22 home runs in just over half a season (88 games). He was far from finished; in his first full year, 2006, Howard won the National League MVP, hitting 58 home runs, driving in 149 and generally terrifying pitchers (also posted a .425 OBP, a more telling stat than batting average – his average was also strong, at .313). So, in a span of two years, Howard went from minor leaguer to major leaguer to top rookie to top player. It’s hard to put yourself on the map more quickly than that.

The case for the fake one: This Ryan Howard started out as a temp when the American version of The Office began in 2005. By the just-completed third season he had become a full time worker. Not only that, but in the last episode of the third season, he got a pretty big promotion, getting a much higher up corporate job with his company. Not only this, but the job he got was one his boss interviewed for and was certain he would land. So, in three seasons he has gone from a temp worker to his original boss’s superior, beating him out for a job in the process.

Personally, I would probably have to call the actual Ryan Howard’s emergence more impressive, since he became MVP so quickly, plus the fact that it actually happened. However, again, if you have your own take on this, comment with it. I can’t stress it enough – we like comments.