Chase Utley: Power Ranking the Phillies' Top 10 Second Basemen of All-Time
The Philadelphia Phillies are just over two weeks into the 2011 baseball season, and their superstar second baseman has yet to take the infield. Unfortunately, at this point there is no guarantee that Utley will take the field this season.
So far the Phillies have done fine without Utley, going 9-4 and sitting atop the NL East division. The pitching staff has, at times, looked as though they might be able to carry this team without anyone at all playing second base.
But let's talk big picture for a moment: What if Chase never returns? Or, assuming he does return, what if he is never the same hitter that he was before? If Chase Utley pulled a Sandy Koufax right now, where would he rank among the Phillies' all-time second basemen?
Let's have a look at the top 10 second basemen in Philadelphia Phillies' history, and find out.
Honorable Mention: Joe Morgan (1983)
Joe Morgan is, by most accounts, one of the top four second basemen of all-time. The shuffling of the order between Morgan, Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Collins and Nap LaJoie is up to the beholder, but those are the top second basemen of all-time.
Morgan played for the Phillies for exactly one season and helped lead them to a World Series. It would be silly to not mention him here, though in terms of career numbers, he does not merit ranking.
10. Mickey Morandini (1990-1997, 2000)
Mickey Morandini played on a World Series team in 1993, and ranks fifth all-time in plate appearances among Phillies second basemen.
In other words, this is a thin group.
9. Cookie Rojas (1963-1969)
A Phillies mainstay for most of the decade of the 1960s, Cookie Rojas ranks very high on the various Phillies' second baseman career lists.
Again, this is a thin list.
8. Dave Cash (1974-1976)
A fascinating hitter, Dave Cash was an All-Star who led the NL in at-bats in all three years with the Phillies, and in 1976 he struck out only 13 times in 666 plate appearances.
He also averaged over 200 hits per season in Philly and led the league in hits in 1975 with 213.
As a second baseman and sometimes third baseman, he was the player-profile predecessor to Placido Polanco
7. Bill Hallman (1888-1889, 1892-1897, 1901-1903)
Bill Hallman played second base in Philadelphia for the Phillies, back when they were known as the Quakers, and for the Philadelphia Athletics of the Players League and the American Association, which was a different team from the Athletics of the American League.
He is second all-time in games among Phillies second basemen, he hit .300 or better four years in a row, and he had 91 RBI, with just one home run, for the 1895 team.
6. Manny Trillo (1979-1982)
During four years with the Phillies, second baseman Manny Trillo won three Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers, went to three All-Star games and won a World Series.
5. Juan Samuel (1983-1989)
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From 1984 to 1987, Juan Samuel was one of the most exciting players in baseball. He twice led the league in triples, and had 10 or more every year. He scored over 100 runs three times in four years, and in 1987 he had 100 RBI. He was an outstanding power/speed threat, with 78 home runs and 202 stolen bases in the four years.
He also struck out way too much without ever taking a walk. The Phillies traded him at the precise moment when his skills began to erode, but before he lost his value to other clubs.
4. Otto Knabe (1907-1913)
Otto "Dutch" Knabe was the sacrifice hits king; from 1907 to 1913, Knabe led the league in sac hits four times in seven years. In 1911, despite hitting only .237, Knabe drew 94 walks and scored 99 runs.
3. Nap LaJoie (1896-1900)
Nap LaJoie debuted with the Phillies in 1896. In 1897, he hit nine home runs with 127 RBI while scoring 107 runs and leading the NL in total bases at the age of 22.
The following season he went for six and 127 while leading the league in doubles and RBI. He played through injuries in 1899 and 1900, and then jumped to the AL with the Philadelphia Athletics.
2. Tony Taylor (1960-1971, 1974-1976)
Tony Taylor is the player who Chase Utley is chasing on most of the Phillies' second basemen career lists: games, plate appearances, runs, hits, triples, walks and strikeouts.
1. Chase Utley (2003-?)
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Call it a dirty trick, but...
It is not even close.