Tha Sports Junkies 101

Phantastic Phillies: Howard and Utley Meet Again

Phillies Kevin McGrath/Via


Ryan Howard and Chase Utley will face off as opponents this week in Philadelphia.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t remember how great they were as teammates on the Phillies.

Even as a New York Mets‘ fan, there is no denying that the Philadelphia Phillies were a special organization in the late 2000’s.  Despite all the painful memories of watching the Phillies steal playoff appearances from my beloved team, I would be a fool to say that the 2008 World Series Champions were undeserving of their achievements.  Who could forget how talented their pitching rotation was?  Between Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Roy Oswalt, Philadelphia’s rotation led the way to multiple division crowns.  Jimmy Rollins captured the 2007 N.L. MVP.  Brad Lidge was virtually untouchable as the closer of the championship squad in 2008.  All of the aforementioned players were invaluable to the Phillies, but there are two players who will always be remembered as the Faces of the Phillies.

On Tuesday evening, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard will reunite in Philadelphia as foes rather than friends.  This will be Utley’s first game at Citizens Bank Park since he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer.  In over 1500 games for the Phillies, Utley hit 233 home runs and was named to six all-star teams.  From 2005-2009, Utley was incredibly productive on offense.  Over those five seasons, Utley crushed 146 longballs and won four silver sluggers as a second baseman.  Now 37 years old, Utley isn’t the threat he once was at the plate.  But you can bet that every single Phillies’ fan in attendance will be on their feet paying homage to the former superstar on Tuesday.

Ryan Howard might still be a member of the Phillies, but it feels like he has been missing for years.  From the time Howard joined the big league club, he was an unstoppable force with the bat.  In 2005, he went deep 22 times in only 88 games en route to becoming the National League Rookie of the Year.  In 2006, Howard won the National League MVP in his first full season.  Howard hit 58 home runs that year while driving in 149 runs and maintaining a batting average over .300.  Howard continued to be an extremely talented hitter until the 2012 season.  In Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS, Ryan Howard tore his Achilles tendon against the St. Louis Cardinals.  The loss of both the game and Howard’s ankle signaled the end of the Phillies’ run of dominance in the National League.  Howard has never hit at the same level that he did in the first half of his career.  He has 374 career home runs, all of them coming with Philadelphia.

Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are both long past the prime of their respective careers.  It has been years since either of these two Phillies’ legends have made an impact like they did nearly a decade ago.  But as the former teammates will meet again this week, this is a golden opportunity for Phillies’ fans to appreciate just how much both Utley and Howard gave their franchise.  These two were the driving forces that led Philadelphia to multiple playoff appearances, including their 2008 World Series victory.  Utley and Howard may not be teammates anymore, but their Phillies’ brotherhood will be etched in history forever.