During their great run of 2007-11, and the years around it, the Phillies were very lucky to have a double play combination who were both the best at their positions that the franchise has ever seen. And, in both cases, by a wide margin.
Both players have a case for the Hall of Fame: Rollins will appeal to more traditional voters with impressive counting stats at shortstop, a unique combination of power, speed, and fielding, and an MVP award. Utley did a lot of things very well, and so racked up among the highest WAR totals of his era, especially during a phenomenal peak, and he will get a lot of support from voters who are up to speed on advanced stats.
But there will be plenty of time for the Hall of Fame discussions.
Today we remember that on this date in 2006, Utley began what would become a 35-game hitting streak. Earlier that season, Rollins had finally failed to get a hit on April 6th, putting an end to a 38-game streak that began in August 2005.
These two streaks, happening so close together, are the longest in the 137-year history of the Phillies franchise:
Jimmy Rollins 2005-06 38
Chase Utley 2006 35
Ed Delahanty 1899 31
Billy Hamilton 1894 27
Chuck Klein 1930 26
Chuck Klein 1930 26
Chuck Klein 1929 25
The two streaks were also the longest in MLB in each of those seasons: the 36-game portion of Rollins’ streak was the longest of 2005, and Utley’s 35-game streak would be the longest in MLB for 2006.
There hasn’t been a longer streak than these two now in 33 years — not since Paul Molitor hit in 39 straight back in 1987.
And both streaks are the longest at their respective positions in MLB’s modern history, i.e. since 1900:
Rollins’ 38-game streak is the 8th longest in MLB history, and the longest by any shortstop in the last 125 years (Bill Dahlen, 1894).
Utley’s 35-gamer is tied with Luis Castillo (2002) for longest streak by a second baseman in the last 122 years (Gene DeMontreville, 1896-97).
With Jimmy Rollins’ streak still a fresh memory, 14 years ago today Chase Utley began his own march, to make the Phillies the only team ever to have 30-game hitting streaks in back to back seasons.
Those were the days.