Chase Cameron Utley (Template:PronEng) was born December 17, 1978, in Pasadena, California. He is a second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies. Utley bats left-handed and throws right-handed. Since becoming a permanent fixture as the Phillies' second baseman, Utley has demonstrated versatility as a player and as an athlete, spending some time at first base as well. As his fielding has improved over his career, Utley is seen in combination with Jimmy Rollins as one of the best middle-infield combinations in the NL. Due to Utley’s youth and strong personality, he is also considered by fans to be a team leader, alongside Rollins and Ryan Howard.
Minor Leagues Edit
Chase played in the Cape Cod Baseball League for the Cotuit Kettleers, an amateur baseball team, in 1999 while he was still attending UCLA. After his summer experience with Cotuit and college career, Utley played for the Phillies' farm system with the Batavia Muckdogs (A-short season; now a Cardinals affiliate) in 2000, the Clearwater Phillies (A, now Clearwater Threshers) in 2001, and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (AAA; now a Yankees affiliate) in 2002 and 2003.
Major Leagues Edit
In his first major league start, Utley recorded his first major league hit (a grand slam) before returning to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He was recalled by the Phillies again in August 2003, to replace Plácido Polanco at second base (Polanco was moved to third to compensate for the loss of third baseman David Bell to the disabled list). Utley recorded the final at-bat at Veterans Stadium by grounding into a game-ending double play on September 28, 2003.
By the end of 2004, it became evident to management that Utley was the team’s future second baseman. However, a roster spot was not permanently available; his path to the majors was effectively blocked by Placido Polanco. During interleague play, he covered first base to give Jim Thome and Ryan Howard a chance to fill the role of DH, but this was not enough to keep his bat on the bench.
Eventually, Utley platooned with Polanco at second base during the start of the 2005 season. In June of 2005, the Phillies traded Polanco to the Tigers for pitcher Ugueth Urbina and infielder Ramón Martínez. As a full-time starter Utley established himself as one of the best-hitting second basemen in the National League. He also proved his speed by stealing 16 bases in the 2005 season.
Utley was a member of Team USA in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and was selected by fans to start at second base for the National League at the 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. In November, he traveled to Japan with other major league stars to compete against Japanese All-Stars.
During the 2006 season, Utley maintained a 35-game hitting streak—the second-longest streak in Phillies history behind teammate Jimmy Rollins, who hit for 38 straight games between 2005 and 2006 (36 games in 2005 and two in 2006). Utley tied Luis Castillo, who had a 35-game hitting streak in 2002, for the longest hitting streak by a second baseman. Utley’s streak was also the longest for a purely left-handed hitter since Tommy Holmes' 37-game streak in 1945. As a result, Utley was named the National League Player of the Month for July 2006.
On September 24, Utley hit two home runs in a 10-7 win over the Florida Marlins. It was his seventh multi-home run game of the 2006 season, tying a franchise record set in 1968 and tied by Ryan Howard in 2006. Utley combined with Jimmy Rollins in 2006 to become the first pair of middle infielders in National League history to hit 25 home runs each in the same season; Utley hit 32, while Rollins hit 25. He later received the Silver Slugger Award for being the best hitting second baseman in the National League. He also batted .309 in 2006.
After starting the season hot, Utley was selected by the fans to be the starting second baseman in the 2007 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which was his second All-Star selection. However, later in the year, Utley was hit by a pitch thrown by Nationals pitcher John Lannan; he broke the fourth metacarpal bone in his right hand. "I'll be back. Don't worry, guys," Utley said after the game. "It's a break, but not that bad of a break. I definitely expect to be back… this season." Utley had successful surgery on his hand, but as a result of the surgery, Utley was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Utley returned to the lineup on August 27, hit a home run and an RBI double, went 3 for 5, and drew a curtain call from the hometown crowd.
Utley finished the season with a .332 batting average, 22 home runs, 103 RBIs and 48 doubles (second in the National League). He helped propel the Phillies to their first playoff appearance in fourteen seasons as the team capped a dramatic comeback by clinching the National League East division title on the final day of the regular season. Utley's offensive performance also earned him a Silver Slugger Award for the second consecutive season.
After his dynamic performance in the end of 2007, Utley picked up where he left off in the beginning of the 2008 season. He was an offensive catalyst in April, sparking win after win for the Phillies as they had their first winning April since 2003, and only their fourth since their last World Series appearance. Through the month of April, Utley hit a league-leading eleven home runs – including seven in the seven games from April 17–23. He completed a streak of five consecutive games with a home run, and hit .360 (good for fifth in the National League) in 111 at-bats on his way to becoming the National League's Player of the Month. His five-game home run streak tied the Phillies franchise record, shared by Bobby Abreu (May 8–12, 2005), Mike Schmidt (June 6–10, 1979) and Dick Allen (May 27–June 1, 1969).
Though his bat cooled a bit in May (his monthly average was .259), Utley still hit eight more home runs in the month, breaking the Phillies franchise record for home runs before June – Cy Williams (1923) and Ryan Howard (2006) shared the previous mark of 18 – and knocked in 26 RBIs. When Howard hit his 15th home run on May 30, he and Utley became the first pair of Phillies to hit 15 home runs each before June.
On June 1, Utley hit his Major League-leading 20th home run and drove in his National League-leading 50th run as part of a comeback win against the Florida Marlins that propelled the Phillies back into first place in the National League East; the 1-for-2 performance capped a productive week for Utley that earned him the National League Player of the Week Award, his fifth, for the first time since April 23–29, 2007. The next night, Utley hit another home run for another streak of five games with a longball amidst a span of eight games with seven home runs (from May 25 to June 2). Utley hit the first in a set of back-to-back-to-back Philadelphia home runs in a 20-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on June 13, along with Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell. It was the seventh time that the Phillies had hit three consecutive home runs, the first time since May 18, 2004, and the fourth occurrence by any team in the 2008 Major League Baseball season.
Following the Phillies' explosive victory on the 13th, Utley went a career-long 0-for-24 in the midst of a 1-for-29 slump, during which the Phillies dropped a season-high six in a row. On the 21st, Utley was benched for the first time this season, ending his streak of 101 consecutive games played. On the 25th, Utley broke out of his skid with a 4-for-5 performance – his first four-hit game of the season – in a 4–0 shutout over the Oakland Athletics. Utley was also selected to start his third consecutive All-Star game.
- Both Chase and his wife Jennifer are avid animal lovers. They paid for the medical bills and rehabilitation of a seven month old puppy named Etana that was beaten and tortured by several people.
Major League Edit
See also Edit
- ↑ Johnston, Martha. Cotuit Kettleers Baseball. Cape Cod League. Retrieved on 2008-07-17.
- ↑ Chase Utley Stats, Bio, Photos, Highlights. Major League Baseball. Retrieved on 2008-07-17.
- ↑ 2003 Career Highlights. Philadelphia Phillies. Retrieved on 2008-07-17.
- ↑ 2004 Career Highlights. Major League Baseball. Retrieved on 2008-07-17.
- ↑ 2005 Career Highlights. Philadelphia Phillies. Retrieved on 2008-07-17.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 2006 Career Highlights. Philadelphia Phillies. Retrieved on 2008-07-17.
- ↑ Wojciechowski, Jason. Chase Utley's new contract - Beaneball. beaneball.org. Retrieved on 2008-06-21.
- ↑ Utley has successful surgery
- ↑ Utley Named NL Player of the Month
- ↑ Utley Extends Home Run Streak to 5 Games in Phillies’ Victory
- ↑ Utley goes deep in fifth straight game
- ↑ Utley and Howard Power the Phils
- ↑ 2008 Player of the Week winners
- ↑ Utley goes deep in fifth straight game
- ↑ Phillies hit three straight homers in first inning
- ↑ Braves veterans reign in blowout win
- ↑ Astros use long ball to down Brewers
- ↑ Rays go back-to-back-to-back vs. Angels
- ↑ Weaver's solid outing delivers difference in sweep of Phils
- ↑ Saunders goes 7 strong en route to 11th win; Vlad powers Halos with 2 HRs
- ↑ Phillies blank Athletics, end six-game losing streak
- ↑ 2008 All-Star Game: Rosters by League. Major League Baseball. Retrieved on 2008-07-15.
- ↑ Zolecki, Todd. Chase Utley Q & A. www.philly.com. Archived from the original on 2008-02-26. Retrieved on 2008-06-21.
- ↑ Utleys are heavy hitters with Pa. SPCA
- Chase Utley's Official Website
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or The Baseball Cube
- Chase Utley Scouting Report by Dugout Central
|Mike Schmidt Most Valuable Player|
(with Pat Burrell)
|National League Player of the Month|