Chase Utley & the “What Could Have Been” Hall of Fame

Chase Utley
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OK, so Chase Utley is going to miss Opening Day. But what's even worse is that Utley is already playing the "Hey, it's not chronic!" card:

I’m going to take this process fairly slow... I’m very optimistic that this is going to turn out well.

I don't think anyone shares Utley's optimism. The idea that he'll play any significant role in the 2012 Phillies season has become a long shot, and it's likely that you'll never see Utley fully healed and turning back into an MVP candidate. Joe Posnanski took a moment to reflect on Utley's situation with this tweet:

Thinking about a "What Could Have Been" Hall of Fame. And that, sadly, that Chase Utley might join Grady Sizemore there.

It's true. There's something grossly unfair about a promising sports career that ends up being ruined by injuries. It's like lighting a dud firecracker. I was thinking about what Posnanski said, and this whole situation made me think about which athletes have had this sort of thing happen to them. The list I came up with will sadden and annoy you:

Bo Jackson: He's the inaugural member of this club, without question. He had two awesome careers ruined by a hip injury, and that stinks, because I was really looking forward to him having the first-ever 3,000-yard rushing season.

Ken Griffey Jr.: Yes, he's a Hall of Famer regardless of what happens. But man, imagine what would have happened if his hamstring hadn't been made of Laffy Taffy.

Gale Sayers: Your injury woes are somewhat diminished when your best buddy is Brian Piccolo. Still, Sayers had his career cut short by knee injuries that probably wouldn't have been a big deal in today's NFL. If only he'd been born 40 years later.

Sidney Crosby: And now that the NHL and NFL actually admit that concussions are a thing, we've only begun to see the rise in athletes ruined by head injuries.

Greg Oden: Seriously, doesn't his name just make you want to cry? Life is so, so fragile, people.

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