There are some records in Major League Baseball that will probably never be broken. Joe Dimaggio’s streak of 56 consecutive games has stood for 77 years. The last guy to come close Pete Rose with 44 games in 1978. Then there are the strange records, perhaps ones no one ever wanted. Like Nolan Ryan’s 2795 walked batters, almost 1000 more than any other pitcher. Chase Utley reached a milestone on Tuesday night in pursuit of a record that will more than likely not be broken any time soon. We refer of course, to the hit by pitch.
In his very first year in Philadelphia, Utley burst onto the scene getting hit by a pitch six times in his brief 152 plate appearances. That seemingly set the tone for the remainder of his career. At the peak of his time in Philadelphia, Utley got hit 76 times from 2007 to 2009. Imagine getting plunked an average of 25 times across three seasons by pitchers who throw in the mid-90’s. Not a fun time at all.
And yet Utley has not changed his style of play in his sixteen-year career. He will still lean into a pitch, at times looking like he is ready to walk across the plate to take a pitch in the back. That’s what makes Chase, Chase. He is a gamer. A guy who wants to do anything he can to help his team win.
On Tuesday night, Chase Utley got plunked for the 200th time in his storied career. The best part of the whole thing was that Utley actually asked for the ball as soon as it happened.
Congratulations to Chase Utley, who has now been hit by a pitch 200 times in his career.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) April 18, 2018
That puts Utley at eight all-time in getting plunked. Hughie Jennings got hit 287 times, and Utley is still 30 off of seventh place. So for the time being, the record is safe. The next closest active player on a roster this year is Matt Holiday, who is at 124. Rickie Weeks is at 134 but has been a free agent since last year.
It’s a weird stat, to say the least. But one that has come to define the type of hard-nosed, no-nonsense ballplayer that Utley is. So congrats Chase. And thank you for taking one for the team, time and time again.
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