Look, I’ve got a bone to pick with this week’s primary “great moment” in Phillies history.
We all know Chase Utley was the best second baseman in franchise history and deserves to be in the Hall of Fame one day. He is perhaps, after Mike Schmidt, the greatest position player the team has ever had (although Richie Ashburn would like a word). Utley was “The Man,” no doubt about it, but this week’s moment in Phillies history, as heard on Episode 377 of Hittin’ Season...
...leaves me wanting, to be honest.
On April 24, 2003, Chase made his first Major League start in a game at Veterans Stadium against the Colorado Rockies. In his third career at-bat, Utley did this.
Yes, his first hit in the Majors was a grand slam. That’s pretty good. It’s certainly a moment worth remembering. But given how great Chase Utley is, I think it’s only fair to point out that it took him THREE AT-BATS to get his first hit.
Throughout the game’s grand history, 53 players hit a home run in their FIRST career at-bat. Players like Houston legend Mark Saccomanno in 2008, Nationals phenom Tommy Milone in 2011 and the venerable Eddy Rodriguez for the Padres in 2012.
OK, so Aaron Judge, Eddie Rosario, Starling Marte, Starlin Castro, Jason Heyward, Carlos Lee, Jermaine Dye and tons of others have done it too. But that’s not all, four players have hit grand slams in THEIR first at-bats: Bill Duggleby (1898), Jeremy Hermida (2005), Kevin Kouzmanoff (2006), and Daniel Nava (2010). Nava hit his off the Phillies, and not only was it a salami, Nava did it on THE FIRST PITCH HE EVER SAW.
TAKE THAT, CHASE.
So sure, we can all appreciate what Chase Utley did in his (chuckles lightly), THIRD career at-bat, or we can all recognize the true king, Daniel Nava. There’s your hero, baseball.
By the way, make sure to listen to the latest episode of Hittin’ Season, as we talk to Phillies beat writer Scott Lauber about his new book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Philadelphia Phillies,” available now!