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Chase Utley will go down as one of the biggest fan favorites in Phillies history. On Friday, Utley announced that this season – the 16th of his career – will be his final season as a player. Barring a trade, he’ll finish his playing career with the Los Angeles Dodgers after the Phillies traded him to L.A. for pitcher John Richy and infielder Darnell Sweeney.
Utley announced his decision in an afternoon press conference in Los Angeles.
The Phillies drafted Utley in the first round – 15th overall pick – of the 1997 Draft out of UCLA. Utley reached the majors in 2003 and played 13 seasons in Philadelphia including being a member of their 2018 World Championship team. As a Phillie, Utley played in six all-star games and won four Silver Slugger Awards. In his fourth season with the Dodgers, Utley has played in 57 games and is batting .231/.313/.331 with one home run and 14 RBI.
In his time with the Phillies, Utley played in 1,551 games with a slash line of 233-916-.282/.366/.481. For his career, Utley leads all Phillies in being hit by a pitch (173), fifth in doubles (346) and RBI (916), sixth in runs (949) and home runs (233). Among his biggest Phillies moments were a 35-game hitting streak in 2006, hitting five home runs in the 2009 World Series and of course, his iconic speech at the celebration when Utley referred to the Phillies as “World F^@k!@& Champions.” Utley’s first major league hit was a grand slam and when he returned to Philadelphia for the first time as a Dodger, he reenacted the scene when he launched a grand slam to right field.
The first grand slam came at Veterans Stadium against the Colorado Rockies. Ironically, current Phillies manager Gabe Kapler was in right field as the ball landed just over the fence for a grand slam.
“I remember the turf, I remember sprinting back toward the wall; I remember it very well,” said Kapler of the home run.
Perhaps his most remembered moment came in game five of the 2008 World Series when he deked Tampa Bay’s Jason Bartlett with a fake throw to first base and then threw him out at the plate to keep the game tied. In the bottom of the inning, the Phillies took the lead and held on to clinch their first World Series since 1980.
“Getting this off my chest will put me at ease a little bit more,” said Utley at the press conference. “I can go into the last chapter of my baseball career with enthusiasm and excitement and a clear mind. It wasn’t a particular moment, I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. I’m no spring chicken, I’ve been playing 15 or 16 years and my hair’s going grey, so there are a lot of things letting me know it’s time.
“The thing I’m having the most trouble with is being a part-time dad, so that’s really the reason why I’m shutting it down; I’m ready to be a full-time dad.”
Utley’s final visit to Philadelphia as a player will be later this month when the Dodgers come to town for a three-game series July 23-25.