100 Greatest Phillies: 19 – Jimmy Rollins – Phillies Nation
100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 19 – Jimmy Rollins

Jimmy Rollins

Career w/Phillies: .277 AVG / 125 HR / 544 RBI / 295 SB

No player has personified the fighting city of Philadelphia quite like Jimmy Rollins. The scrappy but wildly athletic Oakland, Calif., kid came to Philly after being selected in the second round of the 1996 amateur draft. He played sparingly in 2000, but became a full-fledged regular during the 2001 season. Instantly he found himself thrown into a Wild Card race, and though the Phils didn’t win, Rollins quickly learned he was coming into an organization on the turn forward. Hitting .274 with an NL-best 46 stolen bases, Rollins finished third in Rookie of the Year voting to two fellow living legends: Roy Oswalt and Albert Pujols. Rollins suffered a sophomore slump in 2002 but improved in ’03 despite lower homer and stolen base numbers. He finally came into his own in 2004, starting a string of strong seasons that was capped by an otherworldly 2007: 30 HR, 94 RBI, .296 AVG, 139 R, 38 2B, 20 3B, 41 SB. The main reason for the Phils first division crown in 14 years, Rollins had his best Phillie moment on clinching day — a triple that sealed a monumental 20-20-20-20 MVP campaign. Despite an injury Rollins turned in another strong season in 2008, stealing a career-best 47 bases. A four-time triples leader, a three-time All-Star, a two-time Gold Glover and a one-time MVP, Rollins is one of the great leaders in Phillies history, and a downright tremendous player.

Comment: One of the toughest battles in ranking the Phillies was between Rollins and No. 20, Johnny Callison. I ultimately went with Rollins because of the accomplishments at a defense-first position, the MVP and the leadership of a world championship team. It was very, very close. A few more strong seasons and Rollins is a top 10 player, and maybe a Hall of Fame consideration.



  1. Good Night Joe Carter

    March 8, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    I’m in my forties, so I’ve been watching the Phillies for over three decades and can appreciate the team’s long history, and I know that many players on the current squad are far from completing their careers.

    Still, I find it surprising that, for a franchise that has won the World Series only twice, no members of the second championship team are included in the list of top ten Phillies of all time.

  2. Manny

    March 8, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    I hear ya, Good Night Joe Carter.

  3. NJ

    March 8, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Jimmy’s the untitled captain of the second championship team, providing nothing derails his career as a Phillie, he’ll retire up there rubbing shoulders with Schdmity and Carlton on future lists.

  4. ryan

    March 8, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    j-roll. the heart and soul of this phillies team. one of the best leaders in baseball. if he played for the yankees, he’d be one of the biggest stars in all of sports

  5. Wilson

    March 8, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Well there goes my top ten…..

  6. Phil

    March 8, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    i had him at #9 i think lol

  7. James Kay

    March 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    All the accolades mentioned in the write-up are quite true. However, of the current Phillies, he doesn’t have the marquee star power of an Utley, a Howard, or even a Hammels. He is definitely not top 10 and he probably never will be if the pitchers learn how to more carefully intimidate him at the plate. How does Rollins compare to a world class MVP shortstop like Ernie Banks (1958 & 1959 NL MVP)?

  8. Tyler

    March 8, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Glad I didn’t enter the top 10 contest cuz I would have had rollins as like 7 or 8ish… He is personally one of my favorites and I would have ranked him much higher (but I am only in my teens) so I don’t know many of the older Phils before like 2000 except like schmidt, carlton, etc. The big names.

  9. BurrGundy

    March 8, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Rollins will climb the list as he gains more stats and successes. He definitely deserves to be ahead of Johnny Callison (no disrespect for Callison intended). Jimmy will be known for his leadership and the fact he is a run-producing machine who has power and speed and a golden glove and rifle arm. Plus the media and fans love him.

  10. the lopez!

    March 8, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    great player at a bargain price.

  11. John Fire

    March 8, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    I disagree with this. Jimmy Rollins should be in the top 10. He’s among the top 5 in a ton of statistical categories and shouldn’t be penalized because he still has a long way to go yet….

  12. Kev

    March 8, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    I beg to differ on the star power comment that James Kay said, Rollins is the face of the team, and when people mention the Phillies they always mention Rollins, hes the leader, best overall player IMO, when he hits, the phillies win, simple as that

  13. James Kay

    March 8, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Maybe in the Philly market Rollins and the Phillies are usually mentioned in the same breath. But in the enemy markets he is viewed as a criminal uneducated housing project home boy (albeit an athletically talented one) who is viewed as a secondary threat after Utley, Howard, & Hammels. As an example, the Mets announcers routinely diss Rollins in favor of Reyes. My comment was directed at National not only local exposure.

  14. Kev

    March 8, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    criminal uneducated housing project home boy? are you serious?

  15. Kev

    March 8, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    if that wasn’t the most racist thing ive heard in awhile, i dont know what is, have you been watching the WBC? Sutcliffe is all over his cock, because he is an absolute beast

  16. ryan

    March 8, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    James , you are crazy man. Rollins is definitely the face of the team. He’s on ESPN constantly. and i’ve never heard a peep about him being a criminal type.

    and need i remind you, that jimmy rollins already has won and MVP award. you spoke as if he hadn’t.

  17. Benson

    March 8, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    How does someone viewed as a secondary threat win the NL MVP? He is undoubtedly the catalyst of the phils.

    Criminal?!? Post about a team you actually know something about and stop wasting your time

  18. From Section 113

    March 8, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    How can people say that Jroll is a top 10 Philly ever? I mean no disrepect to him, love the player, but he isn’t as good as Schmidty, Ashburn, Carlton, G. Alexander, Bunning, Delahanty, Cy Williams, Klein, and Roberts.

    I don’t think Utley is a top 10 yet, but he is ahead of Jroll, and the same goes for Schilling. It will be interesting to see where Abreu ends up, I am thinking 12th-ish. He has VERY impressive all around numbers that few players can compare with.

    Those 9 above are top 10 locks. Have to be because all are or close to HOFers. #10 will be intersting.

  19. Griffin

    March 9, 2009 at 7:24 am

    Sam Thompson and Billy Hamilton are HOFers as well.

  20. Albert

    March 9, 2009 at 8:40 am

    I’ll never forget his triple in 07 on the last day. I would love to see Rollins named the captain of the Phillies for the 09 season. When was the last time the phillies had a captain?

  21. James Kay

    March 9, 2009 at 9:13 am

    What would be the function of a captain in today’s clubhouses full of independent millionaire stars? A tuned in manager & coaching staff should be all that is necessary.

  22. Jeff

    March 9, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Hey James, This is how Rollins compares to Ernie Banks of 58 and 59
    Banks and Cubs 0 championships
    Rollins and Phillies 1 Championship

  23. From Section 113

    March 9, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Griffin – Forgot about Hamilton, good catch, I think I had him in my top 10. Didn’t know about Thompson.

    So there you go. Throw in Schilling and that’s your top 12.

  24. Ed R.

    March 9, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Sure, I like Rollins–now. But doesn’t anyone remember the original Rollins? The Rollins who wanted to be Rickey Henderson but didn’t have the talent? The Rollins who wanted to hit home runs? The Rollins who refused to put the ball on the ground more to raise his pathetic OBP because “that’s not my game”? Rollins’ OBP (.333 career, an almost ok .349 in ’08) is terrible for a leadoff man, but God forbid hurting his self-esteem by moving him down in the order.

    Yes, he’s improved somewhat, but the most important part of the improvement is in deciding to become the team leader and (relatively) elder statesman. His public predictions and “team to beat” statements have been invaluable in holding his teammates’ feet to the fire and bringing the team together.

    I’m glad he’s come around, I’m happy to have him as the team leader. No doubt a couple more good seasons will move him further up the list, but Hall of Fame, I don’t think so.

  25. Richie Allen

    March 9, 2009 at 10:19 am

    I’d like some of what this James guy is smoking!!!!

  26. James Kay

    March 9, 2009 at 10:46 am

    I am perfectly straight. I don’t even drink alcohol. I am merely energized with opinions (sometimes abstract) about the top 20 countdown.

  27. T Mac

    March 9, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Way too low for Rollins. I had him around #10.

    The best SS in franchise history with an MVP, multiple Gold Gloves and All-Star appearances, and the leader of a WS championship team (with good lifetime stats that give him a good chance at being in the HOF if he stays healthy) deserves much higher.

  28. From Section 113

    March 9, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    T-Mac: I just don’t see how you can compare Jroll to some HOF short-stops. He won’t eclipse 3,000 hits and his career AVG and OBP won’t get any better.

    He does have alot of steals and is a top Defensive short stop. Jeter was/is a better hitter and will get to 3,000 hits. Nomar in his prime was better than Jroll, though Jroll has had a better career because he has stayed healthy. I just don’t think you can throw a HOF tag on a plyer like JRoll so casually becasue it’s really hard to get in unless you were the best at your position defensively or offensively. And Jroll is kind of in between.

    It helps he’s a leader and maybe if the Phills win several more pennants he might get recognition, but he isn’t Ozzie Smith and he isn’t Yount, so he would have to end up like a Pee Wee Reese to have a shot and I just don’t see that happening.

  29. Phil

    March 9, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    rollins is on pace for 700 steals 3000 hits and 300 homers from short stop. if he reaches the 3k hit plateu he will be in the hof for sure

  30. ryan

    March 9, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    hey albert, the last time the phillies had a team captain was probably Dutch Daulton. who basically was the real manager of the 93 team. a shame he’s bat$#!t crazy now

  31. From Section 113

    March 9, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Phil- He would have to get at the very least 154 hits over the next 10 years. I doubt that he is going to last that long. Even if he lasted 8 seasons and avg. 192 hits he’d still come up short of 3,000.

    He’ll end up with 700 steals, but there’s 2-3 guys behind him that will pass him in no time so he ain’t ending up in the top 10, I doubt even the top 15. And all these steals don’t clinch HOF status at all. Coleman and Raines are #5 and #6 respectively and neither are or will be in the HOF.

    His best shot is winning more Pennants and MVPs and Gold GLoves. That’s hs best shot, not 3,000 hits or 700+ steals.

    Rissuto wasn’t that amazing of a short stop, but he was a winner and a sure hand. If Jroll keeps his name at the forefrunt of his position, he’ll be there. But I doubt he can last that long to do it.

  32. Ed R.

    March 9, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    He’s already 30. His stats are going to start dropping off in a couple years, even if he stays healthy. I’d love to be wrong, but there’s no way he reaches 3000 hits or 700 SBs (even if he matched his career high for SBs every year for the next 8 years, he’d still be short of 700).

    I do agree that accumulating various honors and makes a difference, but he’s gonna have to get cracking: two Gold Gloves, one Silver Slugger, one MVP, and one WS championship are great, but not good enough for the HOF.

    Rizzuto is easily one of the worst players ever to be inducted into the HOF, and yet another reason to revile the Veterans Committee. Yes, he was a good player, but he made the HOF solely on the basis of having been on the great Yankees teams and after an in-frigging-terminable campaign to get him in through the back door. Anyone who lived in the NYC area during Phil’s wretched broadcasting career remembers the endless get-Phil-into-the-HOF nonsense.

    If we’re seriously comparing Rollins to Rizzuto (and there’s the big problem of letting mediocre players into the HOF: it lowers the bar for everybody else), the Rollins is closing in; his stats are already better in a shorter career.

  33. Malcolm

    March 9, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Should be higher for the amount of time he has put in and his resume.

  34. Mazinman

    March 9, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    We are truly watching some special times in the Phillies infield. Jimmy has gone from a frustrating player to a truly special one that was a key component in getting us our championship. If the guy helps the Phils get us a second one in a row this year forget the Hall of Fame, they should elect him to sainthood!

  35. ashmidt

    March 9, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    his 2007 was out and out maybe the best year i ever witnessed for a phillie, that year alone put him in my top 10. when you factor in the positive influence he has on ryan howard who might be the closest thing any of us see to babe ruth. you just cant measure that kind of worth. he looked like he was going to emulate his boyhood hero ricky henderson, nothing wrong with that except there is only one ricky. and there is only one jroll, and he adapted (i think chase utley may have had an influence on him) and has become a complete player.we phillie fans are really blessed. this nucleus really looks like a dynasty for the next 5 years. thanks be to god, we suffered long enough.

  36. From Section 113

    March 9, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Ed- I totally agree with you, I was just using Rizzuto as the “best case” scenario for Jroll getting in the HOF. I don’t think he’s getting in though.

    I do have to say that he’s a special player that every championship team needs.

    ALso, I hate when people use the age of 30 as a mysterious plateu that players suddenly fall off at. I think it depends on the hitter and their built. PEDs aside, there were alot of players who won MVPs in their mid 30’s and alot who won in the early or mid 20’s and never won another. I am not saying you said this at all, just that in general 30 doesn’t always fit. We tend to just round to nice even numbers.

    So at 30 Jroll might not really be going down hill but has most likely peaked. I could totally see a .285 avg/.345 OBP (being kind)/20 HRs/40 SBs

    I’d take that in a heart beat.

  37. Philth

    March 27, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Honestly, I think Jimmy is a bit low on this list. MVP? Gold-glover? Almost certainly the best SS in team history. Team leader on and off the field. The guy is a brilliant ballplayer, on of the best defensive SS’s I’ve ever seen. And despite all the whining about his leading off, he’s consistently in the top of the NL in runs scored. The guy is just a run-MACHINE!!! Not to mention, of course, being the leader of the WORLD-F-CKING CHAMPIONS!!!! He deserves to be in the top 10!

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