Every player has a stadium or a team where they excel. As it turns out, for some of the greatest to ever play the game, that team has been the New York Mets and that stadium has been Shea.
But when Shea was replaced by Citi Field and the biggest all time Met-killer Chipper Jones retired, it seemed that we might be entering into an era without any one player dominating the Mets. However, by the time Jones announced his retirement, his successor in dominating the Mets was already being groomed just a few hundred miles north in Philadelphia, PA.
In fact, when Jones retired in 2012, Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley was already padding his stats against the division rivals.
Following in teammate Pat Burrell‘s footsteps, who also retired in 2012, Utley gladly accepted the torch.
For every great Met-killer there is a moment that really establishes dominance. For Utley it came when he hit seven home runs against the Mets in a single-season, including four in the newly minted Citi Field to a section of the stands now referred to by both Philadelphia and New York media as “Utley’s Corner.”
Utley’s Met-killing career began back in 2005, his first full-season in the league. He batted .351 with 10 extra base hits, six of which were home runs, 14 RBI and 13 runs in just 57 at-bats. He followed that season up with a .333, seven doubles and 13 runs in the 2006 season.
But as was mentioned above, it was the way Utley christened Citi Field that really got his name on a list of career Met killers. His eight total home runs in a little over three and a half seasons ranks him as 11th on the list of most home runs at this ballpark, with the 10 players ahead of him all donning a Mets uniform and playing in significantly more games at Citi Field.
Now with 31 home runs against New York, Utley is the latest in a trio of Phillies that have been dominant against the Mets. Burrell finished his career with 42 long balls against the division rival while Hall of Famer and all-time great, Mike Schmidt, ranks second of all-time with 49.
And while games against the Mets are helping Utley pad his own career stats, it is likely third place on the list of Phillies’ Mets killers is where he will stay. But since neither Burrell nor Jones had a chance to get significant at-bats — or in Schmidt’s case any at all — at Citi Field, Utley could still go down as the best opposing hitter at that ballpark.