Joc Pederson thanks 2 Phillies greats in farewell letter
By Matt Rappa
Until now, outfielder Joc Pederson had always been a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization ever since he was drafted in the 11th round out of high school in the 2010 amateur draft.
Debuting four years later, the California native went on to play seven seasons for the team, including earning an All-Star nod in just his first full season (2015), leading up to a World Series championship in 2020.
Coincidentally, two Phillies legends were Dodgers teammates with Pederson when he broke out in 2015, slugging 19 doubles, 26 home runs, and 54 RBI through 151 games — shortstop Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Chase Utley. The Phillies franchise hits leader in Rollins only donned a Dodgers uniform for one year (2015), however Utley remained teammates with Pederson through the 2018 season.
Joc Pederson was teammates with both Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley in 2015.
In a farewell message to the Dodgers family following his recent one-year, $7 million free-agent signing with the Chicago Cubs, Pederson made a point to thank the two 2008 World Series champions.
Pederson particularly praised his teammates over the years for allowing his older brother who has Down syndrome, Champ, feel such a part of the team:
"“All those vets we had in our locker room, Adrian, Clayton, Jimmy, Chase….. they barely even know me yet. I’m nobody. Any one of them could have been like, Who’s this young turd and his brother? And instead they’re letting Champ give a motivational speech before Game 1 of the NLDS.”"
Joc Pederson calls Phillies legend Chase Utley the ‘best teammate’ he ever had.
Pederson went on to “single out” one teammate of his that reminded him of culture — Utley. “Chase was my Vet those first few years in the league, and the knowledge I absorbed from him will last me my entire career,” Pederson said. “He changed my approach to the game — and, in a lot of ways, I think he changed our whole team’s approach to the game.”
“So many of the good things that finally happened for us last season, I can trace back to Chase’s influence,” Pederson continued. “Just a one-of-a-kind leader. Best teammate I’ve ever had.”
The Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants, and Chicago White Sox were all reportedly linked to Pederson this offseason, but instead, he will head to the Cubs as the essential outfield replacement to Kyle Schwarber.
It is pretty cool to see Pederson thank a pair of Phillies greats in Rollins and Utley in his parting message to the Dodgers.