Number 26 is easily one of the great second basemen in franchise history. However, his career years basically covered the period that began in 2005 and ended in 2009.
It's not as though the Phillies' 2000 first round draft pick's baseball life came to an end after he hit five home runs against the New York Yankees in the 2009 World Series. But, the numbers on the back of his digital baseball card have been drastically different ever since those fall classic days.
Last spring we finally learned what ailed this poor guy. Utley's resulting on-field performance also proved that he found a way to manage his chronic knee condition. Most importantly, he was able to play the overwhelming majority of games after he came off the disabled list on June 27.
No one expects this 34-year-old, 10-year veteran to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 2013. However, his heart has always been healthy and his focus remains fixed on the game that he loves.
As Utley enters the final guaranteed year of his contract, no one should count this great player out.