Chase Utley: April 24, 2003
In the third inning of this early season matchup against the Rockies, Chase Utley came to the plate with the bases loaded, looking for his first Major League hit. Not only did Utley get his first hit, but he also did it in style, launching a ball into the right-field bullpen for a grand slam.
Utley hit just .239 with two home runs in 43 games that season, but the Phillies fans saw quickly the kind of player Utley would become, circling the bases in nearly record time on his home run “trot”. The gritty, hard nose Utley went on to become the greatest second baseman in team history.
Ryan Howard: August 31, 2006
When Jim Thome went down to injury in 2005, Ryan Howard took over at first base. Following a Rookie of the Year season in 2005, Howard was on pace to easily surpass Mike Schmidt’s club record for most home runs in a season.
Howard did just that on August 31 against Pedro Astacio of the Nationals in the fourth inning. He took Astacio out deep to center field for his 49th home run of the season. The Phillies ended up losing the game in walk-off fashion, 5-4.
Howard flirted with the 60 home run club, ending the season with 58 home runs and 149 RBI, winning MVP honors.
Ryan Howard: August 30, 2007
Howard continued his remarkable four year run of 40-plus home runs in 2007 when he launched 47. The longest one of the season and perhaps the longest home run in Howard’s career came on August 30 against the Mets.
In the bottom of the first with one on and two outs, Howard crushed an offering from Orlando Hernandez deep into the left-center field seats. The shot was hit an estimated 505 feet.
The Phillies went on to win the game, 11-10 and the division a month later. While Howard’s 47 bombs didn’t lead the league, he led the league in home runs and RBI the following season with 48 and 146, respectively.