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100 Greatest Phillies: 24 – Chase Utley

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Tue, March 03, 2009 04:00 PM | Comments: 51
100 Greatest Phillies, Posts

Chase Utley
Second Baseman
2003-Present

Career w/Phillies: .298 AVG / 130 HR / 492 RBI / 60 SB

In the annals of Phillies history, few infielders have possessed the skill of Chase Utley. And according to this list, he’s already the greatest second baseman in franchise history. Utley was drafted by the Phillies in 2000, and made his major league debut in 2003. In his first start — at Veterans Stadium — he knocked a grand slam against the Rockies. The rest has been great history. The 2003 and ’04 seasons saw Utley shuffling his role with infielder Placido Polanco, but he finally got the regular starting job in 2005. He hit .291, drove in 105 and scored a 13th-place MVP vote. 2006 was better: .309, 32 HR, 102 RBI. 2007 was going even better, but a hand injury took a month out of his campaign. Still, .332, 22 HR and 103 RBI ain’t shabby. In 2008, Utley played much of the season on a broken hip, but still finished .292, 33 HR, 104 RBI. He helped the Phillies win the ’08 World Series, mainly with his improved glove. The trademark moment of his career: His pump and throw home to record the final out of the seventh inning of game five. From there, the Phils took it and won it. So far, so amazing for No. 26.

Comment: When you watch Chase Utley, you’re watching a special player. Everything he does is well above average, and he is unquestionably the top second baseman in baseball, and has been for four consecutive seasons. He creeps just above Ryan Howard because of the additional year and well-rounded game, but so far, Utley and Howard are in good shape together in this list. Utley should move up in this list very soon.

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About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1947 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Greg V.

    Chase Utley, you are the man!

     
  • Posts: 0 Evan

    What Greg said

     
  • Posts: 0 Greg V.

    Btw, I was there when he hit a grand slam in his first start. Nobody really knew much about him so he wasn’t exactly getting cheered. By the game’s end, it was a different story.

     
  • Posts: 0 Michael Stubel

    On track for the Hall of Fame, IMO

     
  • Posts: 0 Ryan S

    Yeah, I was also at that game. I think I heard about him shortly before that as being a prospect. Since that day though, he’s been my favorite Phillie.

     
  • Posts: 0 Cutter

    Way too low. I realize his career still has some ways to go, but I really can’t think of 10 Phillies who have had better careers than him.

     
  • Posts: 0 Good Night Joe Carter

    A vital part of the best middle infield in Phillies history and the nucleus of what I think we will look back on as being the greatest Phillies team of all time.

     
  • Posts: 0 Memphis

    I know it’s subjective, and it’s a ranking at this point in time, but I’m still somewhat surpised to see Utley and Howard ranked lower than Burrell and Abreu. My dad grew up with the Whiz Kids, and he thinks Utley is the best Phillie ever. Just one man’s opinion.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Tim is being very conservative with Rhyno and The Man

     
  • Posts: 0 Crane

    I’d have put Utley somewhere around 15th (but leave Howard pretty much where he is).

     
  • Posts: 0 JK

    Yeah, Utley should be higher than this. Much higher.

     
  • Posts: 0 KM

    well, my top 10 is wrong

     
  • Posts: 0 Chris.I

    Tim,
    Dude, I think you should of wrote this list down, and kept it to yourself lol. I still have no idea where your getting this information from, and I have to be honest…I’m sure alot of people on here are questioning your knowledge here.

     
  • Posts: 0 Fuhs

    One day later, and people are forgetting the lessons of Stocker…

    Besides, there are still plenty of Hall of Famers left to be accounted for (Nine in my estimate). I imagine they’ll be using up a lot of the remaining spaces, especially in the top 10.

    And as much as I like Utley, Howard, et al, they aren’t Hall of Fame (yet).

     
  • Posts: 0 Jason B.

    I understand why Utley is listed here, but Man, my top ten is shot. I had Utlel at ten. We may very well be watching the greatest second basemen of all time. You here me Ryan Sanberg… ALL TIME!

     
  • Posts: 0 dan48

    geese, the phils must have a lot of hall of famers i dont know about

     
  • Posts: 0 Fuhs

    Now that you mention it, I missed one. So possibly 10 HOFers left to see.

     
  • Posts: 0 Harper

    According to Wiki, the HoFers inducted in Phillies caps were Whitey, Jim Bunning, Lefty, Billy Hamilton, Chuck Klein, Robin Roberts, Schmidt, Sam Thompson and Harry Wright. When you add Grover Cleveland Alexander (which, in MHO, you have to), you get to ten.

     
  • Posts: 0 Fuhs

    Harper, Harry Wright was a HOF manager, so not on the list.

    There is one more who isn’t wearing a cap (at all) in the HOF, but was clearly a Phillie.

     
  • Posts: 0 Mr. Phil

    I grew up idolizing Roberto Clemente and revere him to this day.

    That being said, Utley stokes my baseball passion more than any other Phillie OR baseball player. When he was on that 35 game hitting streak a couple years back and it was stopped at Shea, I bristled with anger at how those Mets fans could cheer for him not to get a hit and continue the streak. It was then that I realized I have a man crush on Utley.

    Eventually he will be 1 or 2 with Schmidt on ANYBODY’S list.

     
  • Posts: 0 Harper

    So Fuhs, Ed Delahanty makes it ten. But what’s the order?

     
  • Posts: 0 James Kay

    Utley is a bonafide National League superstar providing you overlook his recent late season batting swoons. His is also a millionaire, a fine measure of American success. He wears a Philadelphia Phillies uniform which of course renders him immortal. And, he will most assuredly make the top ten if he continues his production. However…, his quip “World Phuckin’ Champions” was inappropriately and sophomorically said at the wrong place and under the wrong circumstances. Just goes to show you that even a celebrated seemingly straight laced player like Utley can still act like a first class schmuck (Yiddish definition).
    On an historical note, check out the following piece that includes Sam Thompson, Billy Hamilton, and the 1894 Phillies. Amazing.
    In 1894, Sam Thompson was part of the only all-.400-hitting outfield of all-time. All four Philadelphia Phillie outfielders ended the season with a batting average better than .400 (Tuck Turner at .416, Thompson and Ed Delahanty at .407, and Billy Hamilton at .404). Thompson hit .407 despite missing a month with a finger injury which necessitated the amputation of a fingertip. As a team, the 1894 Phillies batted .349.

     
  • Posts: 0 chitown phillyfan

    I am curious to see if Brad Lidge will be on this list. I mean he was only here one season thus far, but what a season!

     
  • Posts: 0 Ryan S

    I think Tim said in a previous post that 1 year players aren’t included (which includes Brad Lidge). That being said, Lidge wouldn’t be in the top 25 anyway.

    Tim,
    This feature has been great. My friends and I constantly talk about it. Keep it up. Also, will something like this happen again with updates from current players raising or lowering their position?

     
  • Posts: 1650 Tim Malcolm

    Avatar of Tim Malcolm

    I don’t know if I’ll do it next year, at least this in depth. But I’m for updating the list each year to reflect the current guys. Honestly, another Utleyesque season puts him in consideration for the top 15.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    Agreed, Tim… 5-6 consistent years makes his stock jump dramatically. There are a few guys in that 10-15 range with 6-8 years as a Phillie and Chase would be right there.

    It’s hard to rank current players with minimal service ahead of anyone that played here for their career… how can you rank a guy like Utley ahead of a hall of famer?? I mean, if he gets traded mid season and spends his career somewhere else, he might still go down as a great Phillie but he ends up right around here, historically. If he gets injured and never plays another game, he ends up here… you can’t rank based on potential. Someone said it some time ago… if you think that any current players are going to be in the top 10, you’re crazy.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jim

    sherry magee for number 11

     
  • Posts: 0 Keith

    My son and I were at the game in April of 2003 and witnessed Utley’s grand slam. Neither one of us could believe what we had just seen. We still have our tickets and box score. Chase Utley is as pure a baseball player as you can get.

     
  • Posts: 0 Evan

    Tim,

    If you do it next year maybe you should leave active Phillies off the list. Its impossible to judge a player’s place in history while he’s still writing that history. With a few more good seasons (and good health) Utley probably WILL be top 10 one day, but he hasn’t had a top 10 career yet. Plus, we are all going to biased coming off the high of a WS win.

     
  • Posts: 1650 Tim Malcolm

    Avatar of Tim Malcolm

    Evan, I’ll say the same thing that I said to Bruce: How is it impossible? I did this list at the end of a season. What if the guy retires out of the blue? Oh, suddenly his career is done!

    At this moment, I have Utley at 24. But absolutely, Utley has potential to lead everyone on this list. Just not after 2008.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    tell me that Howard hitting hrs at this same pace for another few years in a row wouldn’t also crack your top 15? If he does not get injured, he will continue to chew up opposing pitchers with lots of hrs and lots of rbis.

     
  • Posts: 0 ActuallyChilled

    yea, i think you have assigned too much weight to tenure. in my opinion, time is a lesser factor; if you have one championship team and one phillie who has a sick career year and leads them there, that is a huge deal. i would be very tempted to rank utley, in the top five at this point.

     
  • Posts: 0 ryan

    chase will most definitely be in the top 5 all time phillies list before all is said and done. i can’t wait to watch him grow old in a phils uniform.

     
  • Posts: 0 justin

    I saw Utley, Madson, and Marlon Byrd all play together for 1 year in triple A Scranton. Watching Utley play, i knew he was going to be special. it was so clear the first time watching him that he played the game the right way and really enjoyed the game. Hes been my favorite baseball player ever since that first time I saw him play. Great year from Chase coming. Phillies in 09….oh yea and Johan is missing opening day.

    PHUCK the Mets

     
  • Posts: 0 Steve

    Filled out my top 10 yesterday and it’s already dead, knew I should have waited! I thought that the 10 might include one member of the 2008 WFCs and Chase Utley seemed to be the likely candidate to me based on career performance as well as future potential. To me he’s a far better player than Burrell, but I guess the list is weighted more on past performance, which I can understand.

     
  • Posts: 0 erik

    Chase Utley is the man. Plays hurt and still goes 110 percent. He is the type of gritty athlete that is revered in Philadelphia. And James Kay, his comment was a way of touching the fans on a personal basis. He is not a schmuck. Go to a game and listen to philadelphia fans. HE IS COMMUNICATING WITH THE FANS ON OUR LEVEL. Do not insult the integrity of a man just because you may have virgin ears.

     
  • Posts: 0 James Kay

    Erik, And what level is that? Utley’s quip was cute and many entrepreneurs are currently making money off it. But, immature emotionally vulgar language like that has no place in the National spotlight that has the attention of all forms of baseball fans (young, old, and in between). He should have made it in the clubhouse, private party, or a sports talk show where it would have been more appreciated.

     
  • Posts: 0 Georgie

    James Kay, “more appreciated”? If you would poll Phils fans, young and old, I’d bet close to 99% would say they appreciated Chase’s WFC comment. My god, this town was jonesing for a champion, the Phillies brought it, and as far as I’m concerned, whatever the players did or said in celebration was justified, as long as they didn’t harm anyone. Could he have chosen better words, sure, but that’s how he felt at the time, and I’m not going to berate him for dropping the f bomb in that siuation.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phil

    # Chris.I Says:
    March 3rd, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Tim,
    Dude, I think you should of wrote this list down, and kept it to yourself lol. I still have no idea where your getting this information from, and I have to be honest…I’m sure alot of people on here are questioning your knowledge here.

    You’re an idiot. You are obviously not nearly as knowledgeable as Tim. Learn your Phillies/baseball history before berating Tim. I bet he had to dumb this down a lot to appease people like you. I guarantee you Tim wanted to use OPS+ and ERA+ when rating these players. Unfortunately people like you don’t know what those stats are/mean.

    # Jason B. Says:
    March 3rd, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I understand why Utley is listed here, but Man, my top ten is shot. I had Utlel at ten. We may very well be watching the greatest second basemen of all time. You here me Ryan Sanberg… ALL TIME!

    1st of all it is Ryne Sandberg. 2nd of all he’s not the best 2B of all time. 3rd of all Chase Utley will not be the best 2B of all time. I believe that award goes to Rogers Hornsby, followed by Eddie Collins, Joe Morgan, and Nap Lajoie. Learn your baseball history before making stupid statements.

    Memphis Says:
    March 3rd, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    I know it’s subjective, and it’s a ranking at this point in time, but I’m still somewhat surpised to see Utley and Howard ranked lower than Burrell and Abreu. My dad grew up with the Whiz Kids, and he thinks Utley is the best Phillie ever. Just one man’s opinion.

    Abreu was the epitome of consistency. You knew every year you were getting a .300/.400/.500 with 20 hrs 100 rbis and 20 SBs. That is awesome to keep up for all of those years. Pat the Bat is the top 3 of all time for Phillies home runs. They both played here a lot longer too and deserve a higher place than Utley. Utley will be in the top 5 when his career is over, but as of right now 24 is a good spot.

    I am just so sick of everyone berating Tim on his list. Make your own list if you don’t like it. Utley is one of the best players in baseball right now, but his career is too short to rate him ahead of other people in Phillies history. I suggest you research your own Phillies history and some baseball history and learn stats other than batting average and wins because those are really bad stats to judge a player on. This is Tim’s list so stop criticizing it. If you don’t like his list then stop reading the board. Don’t bash him for his stupidity. btw Pete Rose had his best years with the Reds. He’s not a true Phillie. Does Brad Lidge deserve a spot on this list for his perfect season? Not at all, he’s an Astro and known more for the Pujols home run then his perfect season. He’ll make the list one day. btw…to all of you who think Pete Rose is the god of baseball…he’s overrated. A career 118 OPS+ isn’t that good. He may be the all time hits leader and played the game really hard, but he hit singles his whole career and did it for a long time. He’s great, don’t get me wrong, but I can name 50 players off the top of my head better than Pete Rose. Stop crying and let Tim make his list.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phil

    Utley is a bonafide National League superstar providing you overlook his recent late season batting swoons.

    Utley had batting swoons last year on an Utley type of level, but he was still far and away the best 2B at his position and arguably in the top 10 best offensive players in baseball last year. A 135 OPS+ with a busted hip is ridiculous.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phil

    Way too low. I realize his career still has some ways to go, but I really can’t think of 10 Phillies who have had better careers than him.

    I can easily and just hitters alone. In no particular order:
    Schmidt
    The Bull
    Rollins
    Burrell
    Abreu
    Delahanty
    Hamilton
    Ashburn
    Klein
    Allen

    I left out pitchers and coulda went longer with hitters. Learn your Phillies history.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phil

    yea, i think you have assigned too much weight to tenure. in my opinion, time is a lesser factor; if you have one championship team and one phillie who has a sick career year and leads them there, that is a huge deal. i would be very tempted to rank utley, in the top five at this point.

    You are a total idiot. How can tenure not matter? Lidge had a perfect season last year, but does that make him a Phillie? No. Utley will be top 5 one day, but you can’t forget guys like Schmidt, Ashburn, Carlton, Grover Cleveland, and Robin Roberts who have all had WAY better careers than him and WAY better Phillies careers than him. Playing time matters a lot.

     
  • Posts: 0 ActuallyChilled

    phuck you phil. i said too much weight, not ‘not matter.’ its opinion you emotionally laden screw ball.

     
  • Posts: 0 ActuallyChilled

    “Lidge had a perfect season last year, but does that make him a Phillie? No.”

    that is a ridiculous statement.

    Of course Lidge is a Phillie. Your idiosyncratic pledging system doesn’t gel with all of us.

     
  • Posts: 0 whizkidfanatic

    Utley is getting the benefit of the doubt based on his superior performance to date. He is 3 or 4 seasons away from having the longevity for top 10 status. Should he perform injury free at anywhere near his current stats, he is a lock!

    Many modern fans are unaware of how good Del Ennis was. He hit with consistancy over his entire career with the Phils. He was pitched around constantly yet still drove in 100+ runs near every season. In the field, he had a fine arm, good speed and caught everything he got near. His clumsy gate belied the fact that at one point, before Ashburn, the Phillies seriously considered making him their center fielder. there are at least a dozen players in the HOF who weren’t nearly as good as Del.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phil

    Actuallychilled…you are biased and an idiot. If you have a tenure problem then make your own list. You obviously don’t know how to rate a player’s team history and you obviously don’t know much about the Phillies history.

     
  • Posts: 0 ActuallyChilled

    phil – you seek drama. get a life.

     
  • Posts: 0 ActuallyChilled

    phil – why are you so bent on insulting people? you seek drama. get a life.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phil

    Actually, I don’t seek drama. I’m just sick of all of the people making asinine comments about Tim’s list and saying unbelievably stupid things while they’re doing it. It’s okay for people to insult the guy who makes this blog for us and took a really long time to make this great list for us, but when I insult someone I seek drama? I have a life and the Phillies are a big part of it, obviously much bigger than they are for you.

     
  • Ну естественно, на самом-то деле так оно и есть. :)

     
 
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