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A Look Back: Chase Utley

“Long drive, could it be?  It is……. OUTTA HERE! Grand Slam home run Chase Utley! Welcome to the Show Mr. Utley!”

This was not the first time that Harry Kalas’ voice rang throughout the radio waves in an excited manner over this young second baseman.

“There goes Chase and this is chopped to McBride and Chase is going to keep going and he’s safe at home plate.  Chase Utley you are the man!”

Utley has still had a productive season (Via SBNation)

Chase Utley was called up in the beginning of the season in 2003.  He got his first chance to flex his muscles as a major league hitter against the braves, and he delivered.  With the Phillies already leading 2-0, Utley launched a dinger right into the right field stands for a bases loaded grand slam homerun.  Chase would not make it as the starting second baseman until 2005, but his first big league hit already showed promise.  The guy had power to his pull side, and not only that, but he looked like a pro.

He began the 2005 season platooning with second baseman Placido Polanco, who was eventually traded to the Tigers to give Utley the sole spot. During that season, Utley batted .292 with 28 home runs and 105 RBI’s. He also managed to steal sixteen bases during the season.

Chase Utley’s intelligence and great base running skills helped to manufacture many a run and create many a great play during his career.  In 2006, that second call that is quoted a few paragraphs up was just one of these plays.  Chase was on second and Ryan Howard grounded a ball to the pitcher who proceeded to run towards first and flip to the first baseman to get the out. This would usually be a routine play, except Utley decided to bypass third base completely and slide into home plate for another run.  This is what termed Utley as the man, which for over the last eight seasons has stuck like glue.

It was during the 2008 and 2009 seasons that Utley really shone.  Utley had an April like no other, hitting six homeruns in five days, and was being talked up as the possible third straight MVP for the Phitings.  Utley would not claim this honor, although he would be involved in the final out to propel the Phillies to the playoffs for a second year.

“Ground ball up the middle, JROLL dives to Utley one relay double play.  The Phillies are the National League Eastern Division Champions!”

Chase Utley went on to hit a home run in the first game of the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, making the score 2-0.  Chase didn’t have that big of an impact on the Series as a whole, but made one of the greatest and smartest plays ever made in a World Series.

“Swing and a ground ball up the middle Utley has it. Now he’s going to come home Barlett’s going to try and score. Out is the call to end the inning.”

Utley ranged to his right to curtail a ground ball going through the middle. With a fast runner hightailing it to first, Utley decided to fake throw to that base and then come home with the baseball. Ruiz received the throw, dived, and tagged out the runner trying to advance. That one play kept the momentum on the Phillies’ side, and they were eventually champions.

Utley goes yard in the 2009 World Series (via Blog.TicketChest)

Chase Utley would against the Yankees tie Reggie Jackson’s record of the most home runs in a World Series in 2009. He hit a total of five. One was a three run, go-ahead home run that clinched a victory for the Phillies in that Series. During the regular season Utley hit .282 with 31 home runs and 93 RBIs. It marked the first time in his then five-year career that he did not exceed 100 RBI’s.

The last three seasons for Utley have been peppered with injuries, and during those years he never fully regained his form.  But one game against the Pirates in 2012, his first game back from an injury, was just another example of why Chase Utley is the man.

“In the air to right field. That’s pretty deep! How about this?! It’s gone!! Chase Utley in his return to the Phillies has gone yard! Wow, does he have a flare for the dramatic?!”

This year, Chase Utley sat out with an injury, but unlike seasons past where he didn’t even start the season, this one was in the middle of it. Fresh off an injury this season, Chase Utley is having a much better 2013 campaign, hitting .276 with 11 home runs and 30 RBI’s. He is still, in my opinion, the best second baseman in the league and one of my favorite players ever. Oh, and this isn’t a look back at his career because I’m saying he’s going to be traded. I don’t want him traded. I believe the above paragraphs have let you know why.

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Categories: Editorial, Phillies

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