Chase Utley was born on December 17, 1978, in Pasadena, CA. He was a tremendous baseball player growing up, spending countless hours playing wiffleball to perfect his swing. Chase played his high school baseball at Long Beach Poly High School, and was able to stay close to home when he was offered a scholarship to play for UCLA. In 2000, Utley burst onto the national scene when he was named Outstanding Player of the NCAA Regionals.
After that season Chase was selected in the first round (15th overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies and began his journey through the minors. Chase worked his way all the way up through the Phillies farm system, with stints with the Batavia Muckdogs (A-Short Season) in 2000, the Clearwater Phillies (A) in 2001, and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (AAA) in 2002-03. In 2003, Chase split time between AAA and the majors but performed well when he got his shot in the big show. He recorded his first hit, a grand-slam, in his first big league start, and by the end of the season Utley was a regular in the Phillies line up.
2006 was a break-out year for Chase Utley. He began the season playing in the inaugural World Baseball Classic, as the starting second baseman for Team USA. While the team didn’t capture the gold, Utley got the year off to a good start by hitting .385 during the tournament. Chase carried that momentum into the 2006 season where he had a career year. During 2006 he hit .309, drove in over 100 runs, stole 15 bases, and hit 32 home runs, numbers that were good enough to make him the starting second baseman during the all-star game. Utley also grabbed national headlines during his 35-game hitting streak, the second longest in Phillies’ history. His stellar play during the middle of the season was enough to make him the National League’s Player of the Month for July.
The Phillies weren’t able to make the playoffs in 2006, but that didn’t end the year for Utley. He was selected for an all-star squad that traveled to Japan to play in a series against an all-star team made up of Japanese players. The American squad led by Utley and his Philadelphia teammate Ryan Howard swept the Japanese squad, capping a fantastic 2006 for Chase.
In 2007, Chase began the season on a roll and was selected by fans to be the starting second basemen in the 2007 MLB All-Star Game, his second such honor. After missing part of the season due to a broken bone in his hand, Chase returned to the Phillies lineup. In his first game back, he hit a home run and an RBI double and went 3 for 5. He finished the season with a .332 batting average, 22 home runs, 103 RBIs, and 48 doubles. Chase also led the Phillies to their first playoff appearance in 14 seasons. He earned the Silver Slugger Award for the second consecutive season.
When the 2008 season rolled around, Chase picked up where he had left off in 2007. In the month of April, he hit a league-leading eleven home runs and was named the National League’s Player of the Month. After going through a midseason slump, Chase broke out of the slump with a 4-for-5 performance in a 4–0 shutout over the Oakland Athletics. Chase was also selected to start his third consecutive All-Star game. Once again, he led the Phillies to the playoffs and was a key figure as the Phillies cruised through the playoffs and won a World Series title by beating the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Chase had off-season hip surgery after the season, but returned to the lineup ahead of schedule in 2009, ready to lead his team to another deep playoff run. Chase hit .282, hit 31 home runs, had 93 RBI’s, and was a perfect 23 for 23 in stolen base attempts as the Phillies won the National League pennant and faced off against the New York Yankees in the World Series. Despite a record-tying 5 home runs for Chase in the series, the Phillies fell to the Yankees in 6 games. After the season Chase was awarded the National League Silver Slugger award for the fourth consecutive season, and was named as the 2nd baseman for Sports Illustrated’s All-Decade Team.
In 2010 Chase was named the NL all-star game starter for the 5th consecutive year, however a thumb injury forced him to miss the game. The injury caused Chase to sit out all of July and part of August, but he was able to return to form to help lead the Phillies back to the playoffs where they met the Cincinnati Reds. After a 3-game sweep of the Reds, the Phillies faced the Giants, eventually losing in a hard fought 6 game series.