Oct. 30, 2008
PHILADELPHIA - Former standout UCLA infielder Chase Utley helped the Philadelphia Phillies win the 2008 World Series on Wednesday evening at Citizens Bank Park, as the Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3, to capture their second title in franchise history and first since 1980.
Utley, who starred at UCLA from 1998-2000, played a major role in the Phillies' success during the regular season and through postseason play. The former UCLA infielder keyed Philadelphia's World Series triumph in Game 1, belting a two-run homer to hand the Phillies a 2-0 lead in an eventual 3-2 victory. Utley finished the five-game, best-of-seven series with two home runs and four RBI.
Utley's defense helped salvage Game 5 for Philadelphia. With two outs and Tampa Bay's Jason Barlett aboard second base in a 3-3 contest in the top of the seventh inning, Utley fielded a ground ball from Akinori Iwamura in the hole behind second base. Utley faked the throw to first base and fired home to catcher Carlos Ruiz, who applied the tag on Barlett for the third out of the inning. Philadelphia added the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Utley becomes the 12th former UCLA baseball player to have led his major league ballclub to the World Series title. Prior to Utley, Dave Roberts was the most recent former UCLA ballplyer to have led his ballclub to the World Series title. In October 2004, Roberts guided the Boston Red Sox to the championship, snapping Boston's 86-year drought without a World Series title.
Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn Dodgers) and Bobby Brown (New York Yankees) were the first former Bruins to play in the World Series when their teams met in the 1947 Fall Classic - the Yankees defeated the Dodgers in seven games. Robinson made six trips to the World Series, the most of any former UCLA ballplayer.
Only two other former UCLA ballplayers - Chris Chambliss and Jeff Conine - have been a part of multiple World Series championship teams. Chambliss led the Yankees to the 1977 and 1978 World Series titles after having appeared in the 1976 World Series. Conine helped carry the Florida Marlins to the World Series titles in the franchise's only two Fall Classic appearances (1997, 2003).