Missanelli: Chase Utley Fifth Best Player in Modern Phillies History

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Utley left town the other day as the fifth-best player in modern Phillies history.

Yep. Here’s what I’ve got, in this order: Mike Schmidt, Richie Ashburn, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Utley. (I apologize to Dick Allen and Del Ennis, and the older Phillies who may have been candidates, Chuck Klein and Nap Lajoie. I have no frame of reference for Chuckie and Nap.)

I’m a baseball dude. I played the game for much of my life (and still play in an adult league, which explains my recent torn meniscus and micro-fracture surgery) and was an avid student of the art of hitting. For a period of five years, I thought Chase Utley was the best hitter I had ever seen. Yes, the best hitter I had ever seen. Utley had an amazing way of staying relaxed, then violently firing that short swing. He kept his bat path in the hitting zone for a loooong time — right on the plane of the incoming pitched ball — and hit every ball on sweet spot of his maple bat.

Utley was also the strangest player I have ever covered or seen in a locker room. Read more »

Chase Utley: The Perfect Philadelphia Athlete


Chase Utley had doubled, knocking in a run. The National League still trailed in the 2014 All-Star Game, but the team had finally scored. Utley, on second, went into his trademark celebration: Hands on his hips, staring forward with a small smirk on his face. It’s as if Utley were a baseball-playing robot, thinking “my programming helped me achieve that positive baseball result” to himself.

The only other Philadelphia athlete in recent memory that attracted the kind of universal adulation as Chase Utley is Brian Dawkins. Utley appeared to be designed in a factory designed to produce the kind of athlete designed to appeal to every Philadelphia fan: He kept his head down and didn’t say much. He went 100 percent at every opportunity. The blue-collar fan stereotype is overblown, but there is a segment of the Philadelphia fanbase that likes guys who play hard and keep quiet. They can pretend it’s them out there, just doing a job.

Utley put up solid numbers every year. He had nice arms. He would show up at, like, the Morning Glory diner. He and his wife had a charity, anti-animal abuse, that everyone could agree with. His swing reminded people of Ted Williams. He tied a World Series record held by Reggie Jackson. Both of his famous quotes involve him dropping an F-bomb. How could anyone not like this guy? The only other Phillie possibly beloved as much as Utley was Richie Ashburn. Read more »

Report: Chase Utley Traded to L.A. Dodgers


The Phillies have agreed to a deal that sends Chase Utley to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two minor leaguers, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. He reports the trade is not yet official, but has been agreed to by both teams. The Phillies are also sending $2 million to the Dodgers in the trade.

Utley was drafted by the Phillies in the first round of the 2000 draft and signed on July 29th of that year. He rocketed up the minor league system, skipping AA Reading altogether, and debuted with the big club in 2003. His first major league hit, on April 24th of that year, was a grand slam. Read more »

Utley Trade Talks Heat Up


The Phillies may be on the cusp of shipping Chase Utley — a beloved member of the 2008 World (Bleeping) Series champs — out of town as they continue their rebuilding project.

“Sources told MLB.com on Thursday night that several teams have made offers for Utley, although no deal is imminent,” MLB’s Todd Zolecki reports. “The Giants are just one of those teams. San Francisco general manager Bobby Evans confirmed to MLB.com that his team has made an offer. The Angels, Cubs, Astros, Yankees and Dodgers are in the mix. The Angels have been interested in Utley for more than a month, and are worth watching.”

Utley wants assurances of playing time on his new team: “He does not want to ride the bench, because he plans to play next season.” Read more »

Chase Utley No Longer Phillies’ Starting Second Baseman


Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley (26) sits in the dugout before playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.


Chase Utley went on the disabled list with an ankle injury last month. He’s not expected to return to the lineup until at least after the All-Star Break, and probably more like a month from now.

And when he comes back, he won’t be the Phillies’ starting second baseman. Ruben Amaro said last night that when Utley returns from the DL, he won’t be guaranteed a starting spot.

“I would assume that Cesar will be our second baseman,” Amaro told reporters. “Chase’s situation will kind of dictate itself, how he feels. There’ll be time for him to play, I think. He could play some first base. He could play some second. But as far as I’m concerned, just like what our plan has been for a long, long time, that’s to give opportunities to young men who could be part of our future. Cesar Hernandez has been one of our best players on the field right now in a variety of ways.” Read more »

Utley Yells at Pitching Coach in Phillies’ Latest Debacle

Last night, the Phillies finished up an eight-game road trip where they went 0-8. It was the team’s longest winless road trip since 1883, when the Phillies — in their first year of existence — went 0-9. The Phillies are now 22-44, the worst record in the league.

But last night’s loss was much more embarrassing. The Orioles hit eight homers and won, 19-3. The Phillies were down 12-0 after three innings. Baltimore scored in every inning except the seventh — where the Orioles went down 1-2-3 to Phillies’ outfielder Jeff Francoeur, making the first pitching appearance of his major league career.

But things didn’t go so well for Francoeur in the eighth. He gave up a leadoff homer, then hit a batter and walked two more. The Phillies still had several pitchers available in the bullpen, so you’d think they would have brought one in to get the final two outs. But there was a problem.

The bullpen phone was off the hook. Read more »

Werth, Utley Compete to be “Face of MLB”

It’s been awhile since Jayson Werth and his beautiful, beautiful beard belonged to Philadelphia — his was one high-priced contract for a World Series vet that Ruben Amaro Jr. managed to avoid signing the last few years. Still, he was part of that ’08 championship team, and even if he plays for a division rival — the Washington Nationals — there’s some lingering love for him here.

So it feels like the folks at MLB.com were being a bit mean, perhaps, by pitting Werth against still-here Chase Utley in the first round of its “Face of the MLB” contest:

face of mlb
Read more »

WATCH: Chase Utley Surprises Fan With Cancer On Ellen

Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley stopped by the Ellen show recently to surprise a 23-year-old superfan with cancer.

Julie Kramer had no idea what was coming to her, she thought she was there to talk about staying positive as she struggles with a rare form of cancer, and to receive a few gifts. Ellen presented her with a check for $10,000, which brought tears to her eyes, but then her dream of dreams came true: Her favorite Phillies player Chase Utley came strutting out with a box full of Phillies gifts. Her reaction is priceless.

Utley gave her an open invitation to the Phillies any time she wants to come.

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