Chase “The Man” Utley (look it up) is 35-years old now, and to celebrate his birthday, I thought I’d find 26 (get it?) facts/moments that adequately explain Philadelphia’s sometimes irrational love for their homegrown second baseman.
Yes, I realize it’s a day late. Don’t look at me like that affects whether or not you want some glorious Utley highlights.
Sorry about the lack of embedded videos in some cases, mlb.com doesn’t naturally embed to WordPress.
26) Let’s begin with his crazy first career hit (note: Grand Salami is said).
25) Before that came scrawny-Utley, and the 2001 Futures Game (Holy crap is that Harold Reynolds?):
24) He’s known for his hustle. Who doesn’t love the hustle? Bruce Bochy, that’s who.
23) Both Chase and Miguel Cabrera have played 11 seasons in the majors, with Cabrera playing 337 more games.
Chase has been worth 58.2 rWAR.
Cabrera? “Only” 54.6.
22) He apparently has a penchant for going deep on his first hit of the year.
21) He is the all-time leader in stolen base percentage (88.4%).
20) He answered the age old question, “Who wins when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?” (hint – It’s Chase Utley):
19) In Game 1 of the 2009 World Series, Chase set a then-record, by reaching base safely in (appropriately) 26 consecutive postseason games.
For those curious, he has a career .402 OBP in the postseason.
18) Dat Swing:
17) Dat …Ass? (SFW):
16) Did I mention DAT HUSTLE (I picked one out of a million of these)?:
15) So Who’s Mr. October?
— MLB Play Index (@BRefPlayIndex) December 17, 2013
14) Even his walks win games.
13) Whatever this thing is, it’s wonderful. (The content vastly makes up for the awful video quality)
12) Half a season of old, broken Chase Utley is better than 2/3 of other starting 2B in MLB.
Through only 83 games in 2012, Utley was worth 3.1 fWAR – good enough to be tied for 8th among all starting 2B, with only half as many games played as most.
11) He isn’t told how many baseballs he can hit with one swing.
10) “He’s a power hitting second baseman, do you know how rare that is in the national league?” “Well, plus he’s hot.”
9) He takes time out to answer fans’ letters, be it 5 years late.
8) Since his first full season (2005), Chase Utley trails only Albert Pujols in rWAR during that time (63.8 v. 55.5)
Credit @brefplayindex again.
7) During 5 year peaks:
(05-09) Utley averaged: .301/.388/.535 (.922 OPS), 32 HR, 110 RBI, 17 SB
(09-13) Robinson Cano averaged: .314/.369/.530 (.899 OPS), 29 HR, 104 RBI, 6 SB
(07-11) Dustin Pedroia averaged: .309/.377/.469 (.846 OPS), 18 HR, 80 RBI, 20 SB
6) His criminally under-celebrated accomplishment; tying Reggie Jackson with 5 HR in a single World Series:
5) Based on the JAWS System (which ranks Hall of Fame Worthiness), Utley ranks 13th All-Time for second basemen.
There are 19 current Hall of Famers at the position.
4) In addition, Chase Utley ranks 8th all-time among all second basemen in terms of 7-year peak WAR. All others in the top 9 are Hall of Famers.
2) He saved the 2008 World Series with this play, the most-Chase Utley thing you’ve ever seen.
1) “Chase Utley, You Are the Man” (again, dat hustle):