The Man: Chase Utley's top 10 moments

December 17th, 2023

A version of this story originally ran in December 2021.

Ryan Howard joked in September 2021 that he, Jimmy Rollins and would all be on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time that year, if Utley had not messed up everything and played two more seasons with the Dodgers.

Utley, who celebrates a birthday today, will appear on the ballot for the first time in 2023.

Plenty of stories will be written about Utley’s Hall of Fame candidacy then. In the meantime, here is a look back at 10 of his greatest moments with the Phillies and Dodgers.

1. Utley's first hit
April 24, 2003

In his first career start in his second career game, Utley hit a grand slam against Colorado's Aaron Cook at Veterans Stadium. If you look closely you will see the ball sailing over Gabe Kapler’s head.

It was the first of Utley's five grand slams with the Phillies.

2. The Streak
June 23- Aug. 3, 2006

Utley had a 35-game hitting streak, which is tied for the 11th longest in AL/NL history. He slashed .405/.452/.699 with 14 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 30 RBIs in that stretch.

3. The Speech
Oct. 31, 2008

The typically reserved Utley gave one of the most memorable speeches in Philadelphia history -- not just Philadelphia sports history -- following the team's World Series championship parade. He announced to the crowd at Citizens Bank Park that the Phillies were "world [expletive] champions" to accentuate the exuberance of a fanbase that had not enjoyed a championship from one of its professional sports teams in 25 years.

Utley will hear that line from that famous speech for the rest of his life.

"I hear it here at this stadium," Utley said at Dodger Stadium in 2016. "There are Phillies fans all over the country. I see at least one or two Phillies jerseys every game, to be honest, and occasionally they say that statement. That was a good time back in 2008, for sure."

4. Beat the Mets, beat the Mets
Aug. 30, 2007

Utley tormented the Mets throughout his career, but this one sticks out because it contributed to the Mets' infamous collapse as the Phillies won their first National League East title since 1993. The Phils trailed the Mets by one run in the ninth, but with the game tied, Utley ripped a single against Mets closer Billy Wagner to right field to score Tadahito Iguchi from second base.

It was the fourth of Utley's five walk-off hits with Philadelphia.

5. Five homers in 2009 World Series

October 2009

Many Phillies fans remember Game 1 of the 2009 World Series for Cliff Lee's excellence, but Utley hit two home runs in the 6-1 victory. Utley hit five home runs in the Series, matching Reggie Jackson (1977) and George Springer (2017) for the most homers in a single Fall Classic.

Is there any question that if the Phillies won the Series that Utley’s performance would be remembered more as one of the greatest postseason performances in history? Utley’s 1.448 OPS in the '09 World Series is tied with Babe Ruth in the 1926 World Series for 12th-best among all hitters in Fall Classic history (minimum 20 plate appearances).

6. Game 1 of 2008 World Series
Oct. 22, 2008

Utley hit a two-run home run in the first inning against Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Remember, Phillies fans were anxious heading into the Series. Philly sports fans had suffered so many bad losses over the years. Would something bad happen to them again? But Utley's blast reassured them.

This was finally going to be their year.

7. 'Chase Utley, you are the man!'
Aug. 9, 2006

Utley made plenty of hustle plays in his career, but this one is immortalized because of Harry Kalas' call. Utley was on second base when Howard chopped a ball into the air. Braves pitcher Macay McBride caught the ball and tossed it to first baseman Scott Thorman. Utley never stopped running and scored from second. The best part of the play besides Utley's hustle and Kalas' call? Charlie Manuel smiling as he kept looking into the dugout as if to say, "Can you believe he just did that?"

8. Utley outsmarts the Rays
Oct. 29, 2008

In a decisive Game 5, the Phillies and Rays were tied at 3 in the seventh inning. Jason Bartlett stood on second when Akinori Iwamura hit a ground ball up the middle. Utley fielded the ball with his momentum carrying him toward left field. He had no play at first, but he pump-faked a throw there anyway. It convinced Rays third-base coach Tom Foley to send Bartlett home. Utley threw a one-hopper to Carlos Ruiz, who applied the tag for the out to end the inning. It was vintage Utley, always thinking one step ahead of the action on the field.

9. Grand slam in first game back in Philly
Aug. 16, 2016

The Phillies traded Utley to the Dodgers in August 2015. He played his first game at Citizens Bank Park as a member of the Dodgers the following year. Echoing his first hit at Veterans Stadium in 2003, he hit a grand slam to right field and sprinted around the bases.

10. Quintessential Chase
May 28, 2016

Utley’s hard takeout slide of the Mets’ Ruben Tejada in the 2015 NLDS made the Mets and their fans furious because Tejada broke his leg on the play. The slide sparked so much controversy that it spawned a rule change the following year.

Utley returned to Citi Field in May 2016. Noah Syndergaard threw a 99-mph fastball behind Utley’s back in his first plate appearance in the third inning on May 28. Utley never reacted. He knew why Syndegaard did what he did. Besides, Utley was never afraid of physical baseball. He got hit by a pitch 204 times in his career, which ranks eighth in baseball history.

But Syndergaard got ejected for the purpose pitch. Terry Collins got ejected, too.

Predictably, Mets fans went nuts.

Utley rubbed their noses in it a bit. He ripped a solo homer in the sixth to break a scoreless tie. He then hit a grand slam -- the sixth of his career -- in the seventh to turn a 2-0 lead into a 6-0 lead. Utley finished his career with 39 career homers against the Mets, which ranks eighth all-time against them.