The Dip: Chase Utley – Greatest Phillie of All Time?

Posted by The Dipsy, Fri, August 28, 2009 10:55 AM | Comments: 97
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This is The Dip, a weekly column penned by our own commenter, The Dipsy. Agree or disagree with what he says? Tell us by leaving your comments.

When we think of the greatest players of all time we shouldn’t go by pure stats for often they leave a canvas half painted.  There have always been players whose greatness transcends the confines of mathematical computation.  Players like Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson, Derek Jeter, and even Curt Schilling come to mind.  All have stats, but all also brought something important and out of the ordinary to the game that others didn’t.

Chase Utley is not in the same class as the players listed above.  But if he and the Phillies perform at current pace for another 5 seasons, he will be.  How would history view a World Series winning second baseman who averaged 30 HRs 100 RBIs 100 Rs with a .300 AVG over the span of 10-12 years? The answer would be with a trip to the Hall of Fame, and depending on how long he can extend his career, recognition as the greatest second baseman of the last 70 or so years.  Better than Sandberg.  Better than Morgan.  High praise.

Thoughts:  Utley does not play out of position at second base.  Unlike guys like Jeff Kemp and Alfonso Soriano, who are hitters that can play second base, he is a natural second baseman who excels at fielding his position.  He is a brilliant baserunner.  He is regarded as the heart and soul of one championship team and should have opportunities to win more.  He is the leader of his team and does whatever it takes to win a game.  Although he might make an occasional error, he rarely does anything inherently wrong on a baseball diamond.  He plays with the headiness befitting a Jackie Robinson.  He exudes the quiet class of Derek Jeter (parade comments notwithstanding) while playing with Pete Rose’s earthiness and grit.  This is not a man crush – this is just reality.

The Phillies have had great players.  Steve Carlton was brilliant but strange.  Schmidt, arguably the greatest to play his position, was aloof, off-putting and too casual for many – that’s his curse.  Utley is a better player than Ashburn and history has obscured the memory of Ed Delahanty.  Utley’s got the game, the attitude, the ring, and the respect of all with whom he plays.  He even loves animals. There has never been a player like him here and the fans adore him like no other that has come before. Philadelphians finally have the player they’ve always wanted – and that’s why he just may turn out to be the greatest Phillie of all time.

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About The Dipsy

The Dipsy has written 29 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Wait I forgot “Bake McBride” as one of the great baseball names….Bruce we can’t claim Petey as our own….He’s a Red at his core

  • Posts: 0 Michael Stubel

    Here’s my list of the top 100 baseball players of all-time:


    I did not include pitchers or Negro League players.

    Let me know what you guys think…

    As for Utley, he is arguably the best second baseman since Joe Morgan and will pass Jeff Kent’s offensive numbers in the matter of years. He is, without a doubt, a strong leader and a truly unique ballplayer. I believe it’s too early to say he is best Phillie ever, but he will give Schmidt a run for his money by the time is career is over.

    Howard, on the other hand, is a monster. If he is clean (and I hope and believe he is), his numbers from 2006-2009 are historic. He has the chance to put up 4 consecutive years of at least 40 home runs and 135 RBI. Say all you want about ballpark sizes and hitting among other great hitters who get on base. If my research is correct, only 3 players have accomplished the 40/135 feat in four straight years:

    Babe Ruth
    Sammy Sosa
    Ken Griffey Jr.

    and, if his ’09 numbers hold up…

    Ryan Howard

    Think about that…

    It’s amazing

  • Posts: 0 Michael Stubel

    And for the record…

    Bonds, Gehrig, Williams, Foxx, A-Rod, McGwire, Mays or Aaron did not accomplish that feat

  • Posts: 0 Michael Stubel

    And Sosa, of course, was a cheater

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Love Utley… but even if Utley has a long-career, he’ll still fall behind Schmidt.

    I do agree with Don… you know I do… people knock Howard for the stuidest things (NJ at 12:39… he doesn’t have the HOF “mind.” WTF does that means?). Big Brown has CARRIED us in September on more than one occasion, he has an MVP award and finished second last year, he dropped 20 lbs this year and has played much better defense. Please tell me, if “clutch” and “determination” are not characteristics of a HOF mind, then what is?

    The point that Dip is making is that he’s got the numbers to go down as the best second baseman of all time and he’s got something that Schmidt/Carlton did not have: the fans LOVE him… agree 100%

    But that’s what bothers me… the love fest often overshadows everything else. Reality… Howard has carried us, Hamels has carried us, Rollins has carried us… hell, our role players carried us in the WS… Utley has never really carried us and he has never finished a season in the top 5 in MVP voting. He is consistent as hell and he could be the greatest 2B of all time (a position not known for offensive prowess) but this TEAM is special…

  • Posts: 0 Repeat!

    Yeah jreed… My ex-girlfreind wanted to have Chase’s baby too. It’s the reason why never got married, among others… Chase is the team leader, he’s just quiet. Kinda like Brian Westbrook. They both talk when and only when it’s necc.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Mantle #13???? Uhhhhh. Thats a little high.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Michael Stubel

    Sorry Dipsy, do you like any of the other placements?

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I just looked at the top 20. The Babe was totally sick. The thing that puts him at the top of the list FOR SURE is that pitching. Off the hook. Is it true that he still holds the records for most wins before the age of 20?

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Michael Stubel

    I am sure of it. The fact that he compiled 714 home runs and 2200 RBI after having had pitched for a number of years is amazing.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    At their current paces, Howard would be over Utley as far as HOF material, in my opinion.

    People love Chase Utley beacuse of what he represents….he’s a gritty player playing in a gritty town. People identify with that….and I understand that.

    But to say that Utley is one…..or will even BE one of the greatest Phillies is a hard thing to wrap my arms around right now. In 5 or 7 years….maybe..

  • Posts: 0 winks tiddley

    Too soon for the honor. An outstanding player so far with significant potential to be a Hall-of_Famer. But today is too early for this honor. It is kind of silly to discuss this at such an early tenure in Utley’s career.

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Stubel – That’s an interesting stat and definitely HOF worthy. I suppose what isn’t in his favor is the context of his generation with all the depth at his position. Maybe what you noted will be his distinguishing feature.

  • Posts: 0 winks tiddley

    The best second baseman of all time is Rogers Hornsby. Take a look at his stats and you will see eye-popping stats.

  • Posts: 0 Mr. Phil

    He gets my vote. With all due respect to Mike Schmidt, Utley is the player that even the old school fans can watch and root for. He’s the leader in the clubhouse is what the broadcasters say. I’m going to the game this evening and hope the rain stops! It’s pouring in lower Delaware.

  • Posts: 0 Michael Stubel

    Winks Tiddley is right, Rogers Hornsby is the best second baseman ever

  • Posts: 0 Repeat!

    Rogers Hornsby. haha.. Midieval Times called. They want their guy back.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    If Utley stopped playing today, he would be a Philly legend. A a fantastic player with a career all too short, blah. OF COURSE its too early to call him the greatest Phillie. I’m not even calling him that. BUT, if he plays the next 5-7 years like he’s played his first five, which is essential to the whole discussion, then its Schmidt, Carlton and Utley.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Michael Stubel

    Hornsby may have played a long time ago, but he is still a top 10 player of all-time

  • Posts: 0 Repeat!

    I wonder what Shoeless Joe Jackson is up to these days?

  • Posts: 0 Repeat!

    Sure he was….. As the legend of the fussy, faded stat books from the Dark Ages say….

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Angels just got Scott Kazmir for some prospects

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    The Dipsy says,
    “If Utley stopped playing today, he would be a Philly legend.”

    What?????!!!!!???? I really like Chase Utley and have a lot of respect for him and how he approaches and plays the game….but to call him a LEGEND…??? I think that’s a bit overboard.

    Rogers Hornsby….now THERE’S a throwback…

  • Posts: 0 Philly Geoff

    I have a man crush on Chase. And I am not ashamed to say it. He is a once in a lifetime talent.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Nooooooooo! Kazmir????? God Dammit!

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Repeat!

    Good…. We’ll light’em up if the Angels make it to the WS. The softest lefty with great stuff of all-time…..

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Hey Rueben we’ve got alot of dem dere prospects

  • Posts: 0 Richie Allen

    Chase Utley has been GREAT SO FAR….I dont care what anyone says to the contrary.He is the best thing that has EVER Happened to this team .He is our heart and soul.PERIOD!

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Dipsy – are your palms sweating enough yet…..I feel like Stryker in Airplane…

  • Posts: 0 Evan

    5-7 years more isn’t enough for the HOF. Chase’s production is likely to drop in the next few years and he may have a shot if he can play well into his late 30s. The HOF is hard to make Dip. I think you’re forgetting how long Morgan and Sandberg would good for.

    I think Howard might be looking at the HOF if he doesn’t slow down until his mid-30s. He’s a slugger in the post steroid era, so everyone who you compare him to in the past is tainted. Does this mean the HOF voters will think about that? I don’t know, but he’s probably the best pure power hitter in the game, maybe behind Pujhols.

  • Posts: 0 Repeat!

    M. Stubel.. you don’t include Negro League position players huh? Then your list is 100% worthless.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Chase Utley was the best defensive 2B in all of baseball last year. Bill James’ fielding Bible had him as a +46. Mark Ellis was 2nd best with +26.

    2nd base is a much harder position to play than 3B. At 3B you need a strong arm and minimal range. At 2B you need much, much more range.

    Chase Utley is a top 5 player in all of baseball right now and mentioning his Hall of Fame credentials at this point is hardly silly.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Evan, you might wanna check Sandberg’s and Morgan’s stats. They slid too.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Amazinsux

    re: Richie Allen: Said perfectly. Amen!

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    It IS silly, Griffin, because of the simple reason that he doesn’t have enough years under his belt. He needs AT LEAST 5 more years doing what he’s doing now and that doesn’t take into consideration that his offensive production and defensive range will GO DOWN as he gets older.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    at 2b you need more range …but you can also get by with a much weaker arm, and much slower reaction times

    Top 5?

    Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Hanley Ramirez, Derek Jeter, Michael Young, …that’s not counting A-Rod, Mark Teixeira, Justin Morneau.. or Eric Bruntlett

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Don, are you Michael Young’s brother? Geez. Kind of a reach dontcha think?

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Yes, top 5.

    When factoring in Utley’s offensive numbers and superior defense at a PREMIUM position, Utley is absolutely a top 5 player.

    Pujols, Hanley, A-Rod, Mauer and Utley.

  • Posts: 0 Keith E

    Greatest Phillie for me is Jimmy Rollins. I’ve never seen a Phillie’s player have such a direct effect on the teams success and failure. When he’s on the Phils are not getting beat. As Rollins goes, so go the Phils. I don’t think you can say that about any other player.
    As for Utley. He is the best ball player ever to play for the Phils. This guy has baseballs running through his veins. He is all about the game and is never out of position.
    I hope I didn’t confuse anyone with my distinction between greatest Phillie and best player. In my eyes they are two different things. What a great ‘problem’ to have.
    GO PHILS!!!

  • Posts: 0 Michael Stubel

    Completely worthless Repeat? I am glad you looked over the complete list and offered a worthy response.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Chuck, of course he needs 5 more seasons. We’re talking about his Hall of Fame credentials “so far”. He will obviously need to move off of 2B as his range declines but as of now, he’s on a Hall of Fame track. If he retired today he of course would not be a Hall of Famer.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Michael…..how did you come up with that list?

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 joedad

    Dipsy certainly gets comments, doesn’t he.

    I was shocked when I looked at the 162 game average of Utley and Schmidt and how similar they are. Schmidt had a much higher OPS+ but I think OPS+ is misleading in this era because steroids has skewed modern OPS+ lower, especially for those that are steroid free.

    Schmidt is a significantly better fielder but Chase plays a more important position and plays it well.

    Both were excellent baserunners.

    Dipsy, I agree, Utley MAY be in the argument in the future as the best ever.

  • Posts: 0 Dan

    maybe some day but not yet

  • Posts: 0 Michael Stubel


    What do you mean? It was the result of few months of research and long thought.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Wasn’t being a smart guy, I was just curious. I went back and looked at Mantle. He tailed off a bit the last 5 or so years. But you can’t argue with his WS performances.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Kramer

    Michael Stubel, thanks for your informative stats relating to 40+ HR/135+ RBI. I was inspired enough to write a post going further into depth from ideas you gave me, and the conclusion I reached is that Ryan Howard is the most prolific power hitter in the history of professional baseball for the first four complete seasons of his career. I don’t want to clutter up this thread with a copy and paste, so I’ll just link to my post, entitled “The Legend of Ryan Howard”.


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