The best moments of Chase Utley's career
On Friday afternoon, Philadelphia icon and "It's Always Sunny" favorite Chase Utley announced that he would be retiring at the end of the season.
6x All-Star. World (fill in the blank) Champion. The Man.- MLB (@MLB) July 13, 2018
Chase Utley will retire at the end of the 2018 season after a 16-year career. pic.twitter.com/aRzpP3nFtc
While we assume Mac and the rest of his super fans are distraught at the news, they can at least take solace in a long career absolutey filled to the brim with highlights. These are some of his very best:
His first hit was a grand slam
In his MLB debut on April 4, 2003, against the Pirates, Utley struck out in one plate appearance as a pinch-hitter. Nearly three weeks later, on April 24, 2003, he made his first start at second base for the Phillies and, in his second at-bat, recorded his first hit in the Majors: A grand slam at Veterans Stadium.
For an added fun fact, that's current Phillies manager Gabe Kapler in right field watching the ball sail over the fence.
The 35-game hitting streak
From June 23 to Aug. 6, 2006, Utley hit safely in 35 consecutive games. Though the streak fell three games short of what teammate Jimmy Rollins had accomplished from the end of 2005 through the start of 2006, it remains tied for the 11th-longest hitting streak in MLB history.
"Chase Utley, you are the man!"
Before he became known as the "Silver Fox," Utley was simply known as "The Man" thanks to Hall of Fame Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas. In an August game against the Braves in 2006, Utley caught the opposition by surprise to score from second on a routine groundout from Ryan Howard. His hustle inspired Kalas to call him "The Man," and it stuck.
Walk-off hit against the Mets in 2007
The Phillies made the postseason in 2007 for the first time since 1993, making up a seven-game deficit to the Mets with 17 games to play thanks to a 13-4 run. Their chase started before that with a four-game sweep of the Mets in late August, with the fourth win coming on an RBI single from Utley.
That single would prove important as the Phillies didn't clinch the NL East title until the final day of the regular season.
Game 1 of the 2008 World Series
The Phillies won the 2008 World Series for a number of reasons -- Cole Hamels' dominant pitching, Joe Blanton's surprising home run, Brad Lidge capping off a perfect season in save opportunities -- but it all started with Utley hitting a two-run homer in the top of the first inning of Game 1.
Utley dekes Jason Bartlett in 2008 World Series, Game 5
Utley's most memorable highlight from the 2008 World Series came in Game 5 when his fake throw to first caused Bartlett to unwittingly run into an out at home plate and keep the game tied. The Phillies took the lead in the bottom half of the inning and held on to win the franchise's first World Series since 1980.
The World Series parade speech
Utley has never been known as a particularly garrulous player. But, when he does speak, he makes his words count. Speaking at the World Series parade in 2008, it took only three words for Utley to produce an iconic moment:
He hit five home runs in the 2009 World Series
The Phillies lost the 2009 World Series to the Yankees in six games, but it certainly wasn't because of Utley. With five home runs that fall, he tied Mr. October himself for most in a single World Series.
The time he may or may not have been hit by a pitch
Utley has been hit by more pitches than any active player. In addition to the 201 times he's been plunked in the regular season, he's also been hit eight times in the postseason. Leading of the seventh inning in Game 2 of the 2010 NLDS against the Reds, Utley was hit by an Aroldis Chapman fastball and eventually came around to score in a three-run inning that gave the Phillies the lead. Only, that pitch may not have actually hit him:
When he wrote a letter to Mac from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"
In Season 5 of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," the character Mac wrote a love letter to Utley. For years it sat without a response and Mac's love appeared to be unrequited. Five years later, however, Utley not only read the letter, but responded with a letter of his own:
His 200th hit by pitch
On April 17, Utley became the eighth player in MLB history to reach the 200 hit-by-pitch milestone when he took a pitch from Bryan Mitchell to the shoulder. It was a familiar sight, as he's taken his fair share of pitches to the shoulder in his career.
He hit a grand slam in his first game back in Philadelphia
On Aug. 16, 2016, Utley returned to Philadelphia and played his first game at Citizens Bank Park as a Dodger. Echoing his first hit at Veterans Stadium back in 2003, he hit a grand slam to right field and made quick work of his trip around the bases: