The Dip: Roll Call – Phillies Nation

The Dip: Roll Call

#11 Jimmy Rollins Takes off for second

Dave Bancroft, Travis Jackson, Bobby Wallace, and John Ward. No, this is not a list of NASCAR drivers. It is a list of men who have played shortstop in the major leagues and have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Suffice it to say, these guys don’t evoke the grandeur and prestige (tongue firmly in cheek) of that hallowed institution. This is one important reason why Jimmy Rollins, if he continues at pace for another 3-5 years, will go into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Not only that, but he has a chance at being considered one of the greatest shortstops of all time.

Sure, maybe I’m not giving the above-mentioned individuals enough credit, but if they were really that great, I would have at least heard of them before I actually looked at the list of actual Hall of Fame shortstops. I am one of those guys that really don’t take baseball before Babe Ruth that seriously. Further, I don’t really consider the truly “modern era” of baseball to have begun until Jackie Robinson broke in. Even so, as it pertains to this discussion, I cannot dispute that Honus Wagner was just incredible and stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. With the way he hit, he could have been a butcher in the field and it wouldn’t have mattered.

The shortstops in the Hall can be sorted into groups.

  1. The guys that played when dinosaurs roamed the earth: Bancroft, Jackson, Wallace, Ward, Hughie Jennings, Rabbit Maranville, and Joe Tinker (check his stats when you get a chance).
  2. Guys who got in mostly through their association with great teams: Pee Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto, Loe Boudreau
  3. The truly deserving: Joe Cronin, Arky Vaughn, Luke Appling, Robin Yount
  4. The truly great: Wagner, Luis Aparicio, Cal Ripken, Jr., Ernie Banks, and Ozzie Smith

Now you have some context. Jimmy Rollins, during is first ten seasons in the league, has led the league in AB’s and triples four times, won three Gold Gloves (the beginning of a string I suspect), won one MVP and one World Series. He has averaged out of the lead-off spot, 660 AB’s (wow), 105 runs (wow again), and 36 stolen bases while hitting .274. There is no better defensive shortstop in the game. If this caliber of play continues it would take him right over the “truly deserving” category and into the “truly great”.

Of the shortstops currently in the Hall I would take three – and only three – before Jimmy: Honus Wagner, Ozzie Smith, and Luis Aparicio. Aparicio, was a World Series winner, 10 time all-star, 9 time Gold Glove winner, and led the AL in steals 9 straight years (bet you didn’t know that). He was the first state of the art modern day shortstop and an incredible fielder. Ernie Banks only played half his career at shortstop, and if not for that, he would be there with the other three. If you compare Ripken and Jimmy, I’ll take Jimmy’s total offensive game over Ripken’s power. In the field, Cal would catch any ball he could get his hands on, and so can Jimmy. The difference is that Jimmy gets his hands on more balls.

Yes, the roster of Hall of Fame shortstops is not reflective of superior offensive prowess, with shortstop being a defense-first position. Jimmy has more years left to play and hopefully another World Series or two to win. He is a phenomenal two way player who’s biggest sin is not walking more. While Phillies fans tend to be more agog these days over Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, let this little write up serve as a reminder of how good we’ve got it at shortstop. We may actually be in the presence of greatness. Jimmy Rollins is that good.



  1. derekcarstairs

    March 15, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Because Rollins became a starting SS at age 22, he has a chance to run up some impressive career totals. Rollins will play at ages 31 to 35 over the next five seasons (2010-2014), and he still could be putting up good numbers during that time. By age 35, JRoll could have 2,500 career hits, 1,500 runs, 1,000 RBIs, close to 500 stolen bases, more than 500 doubles, 135 triples, and 250 homers. Those are good numbers for a SS who also plays solid defense. Those numbers could put JRoll in the HOF. If he still has something left in his tank through his late 30s, Rollins could be a cinch HOFer.

  2. bfo_33

    March 15, 2010 at 8:29 am

    One of the great all around players – if he keeps it up another few years, adds another ring, a lock for the HOF. Underrated only because the Phils insist on keeping him at leadoff, where he is only ok.

    Imagine the runs scored if we got a 350+ obp from leadoff vs Jimmy’s avg of 328 (or his 298 from last year). Especially now that we have a real #2 hitter.

    I know Vic has struggled at lead-off in a very limited sample, but don’t see why he wouldn’t eventually get to his career avg obp (350) in the role. Utley, Howard, and Werth could all get 100 RBIs, Rollins would probably still score 80+runs, knock in 90. Ibanez would also knock in 80+. That line-up could score 1000 runs.

    I know, runs aren’t a problem, egos could be.

  3. George

    March 15, 2010 at 8:30 am

    It always surprises me when people place Rollins in the “also-ran” category. I suppose that some of that is because of his slow start last year and some is because of his low OBP.

    If they read his career stats, though, maybe they’d think more highly of him. He’s easily as valuable as the Phils’ glamor players like Utley and Howard. Those two certainly can’t always drive themselves in; they need someone ahead of them who can single, then steal to get in scoring position, or double or triple–all things that Rollins is good at. Who needs high walk totals when you can do the things Rollins can?

    To me, he’s already in the “truly deserving category.” The standards are changing for SS, though, and Hanley Ramirez may have some influence on whether HOF voters think Rollins truly “great.”

  4. bfo_33

    March 15, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Hanley should be a corner outfield or 3rd base – he’s poor defensively at best, and doesn’t appear to be getting any better. I think the HOF takes defense into account for SS and 2nd base more so than other positions.
    Again, I do think Rollins is underrated, but lead-off means getting on base, which is not Rollins’ strong point. He could be a legitimate RBI guy in the 5 or 6 hole (fits better at 6 on this team – could be a hybrid rbi, 2nd lead-off guy, woudl still steal 20+/yr, score almost as many runs in front of Ibanez).

  5. Phan in ATL

    March 15, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Possible 4 HOFs on current roster: Rollins, Howard, Utley (1st ballot), and Halladay (He’d go in as a Blue Jay but he’ll spend the rest of his career in Philly). Once again, great time to be a Phillies fan.

  6. Ben

    March 15, 2010 at 9:10 am

    phan, its very early to tell, but cole could easily shape up to be a HOFer too. i agree i wouldn’t put him in the catagory of those 4, as he has a lot of work to do to get there. but he’s got the stuff to get there if he can stay healthy and keep his head on straight.

  7. Heather

    March 15, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Interesting article, I’d never thought of Rollins as a future HOF just because of what I perceived as his poor offense….but putting it in perspective it is interesting how those numbers don’t stack up too badly.

  8. Don M

    March 15, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Rollins is my favorite player on the Phillies . . . . but he’s not a Hall of Famer

    he’s not even a lock for the All-Star Game every year.. and Troy Tulowitzki is probably ahead of Rollins in the minds of every baseball-person around

  9. Manny

    March 15, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I don’t think J-roll is a Hall of Famer either… unless he has an ’07-type season at least two more times.

  10. Chuck

    March 15, 2010 at 10:13 am

    I love Rollins.

    But to even mention him in the same breath as Wagner, Banks, Aparicio, Cal and Ozzie… just wrong.

  11. The Dipsy

    March 15, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Don and Chuck – the usuals – if he has another three to five years like he’s already had, then he’s in, and he’s better than Reese, Rizzuto, and Boudreau. And not by a little bit. I conceded that Wagner, Ozzie, and Aparicio were better. By the way, take a look at Cal’s offensive numbers and then take a look at Jimmy’s. Jimmy’s are better. Ernie is by far the best modern day player out of all of them buy he just didn’t plat shortstop very long. Neither did Yount.

    The Dipsy

  12. Phylan

    March 15, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Though I love the man, I would readily take Hanley or Tulo ahead of him, unless it’s a swagger-off we’re talking about.

  13. bfo_33

    March 15, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Right now, he’s Barry Larkin – hall of very good, but not hall of fame. If last year was just a blip and he can have 5 more years like 2007 (or even 2004 or 5), + do something in the playoffs (realistic chance of at least 2 more postseason trips, hopefully he’ll do somethign more than bat 0.230), then he’s in the argument. I agree he isn’t Wagner or Banks, but he’s better offensively than Aparicio (although he played in the Pitcher’s era) or Ozzie, and he’s better defensively than Cal, with comparable offensive strengths. If 2009 was the start of a trend, then he’s just the best ss the Phils ever had.

  14. The Dipsy

    March 15, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Does it matter to anyone that, barring injury, Jimmy will more likely that not, get to 3,000 hits?

    The Dipsy

  15. Chuck

    March 15, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Cal’s offensive numbers:

    11551 ABs
    1647 Runs
    3184 Hits (1078 were XBH, and of those 431 HR)
    1695 RBI
    .276 BA
    .447 SLG

    J-Roll’s offensive numbers:

    5941 ABs
    945 Runs
    1629 Hits (591 XBH, and of those 146 HRs)
    621 RBI
    .274 BA
    .439 SLG

    Not really sure how you can say that “Jimmy’s are better”

    (Maybe if you were to just multiply Jimmy’s by 2 to just about equal the playing time….then some of the stats are SLIGHTLY better…..but to say he can keep up that pace for 9 or 10 more years is a stretch)

    And….Cal was MVP TWICE…Rookie of the year (which Rollins wasn’t) And Cal played in like 20 STRAIGHT ALL-Star Games???

    So “The Streak” aside….Cal is better.

  16. mikemike

    March 15, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Love jimmy, but ozzie was the best I ever saw in my 55 years of watching baseball. more range,than jimmy , cal ripken defense was a joke ,he had no range.

  17. Don M

    March 15, 2010 at 10:59 am

    As one of “the usuals” . . . considering I spent many a day of the past two seasons defending Rollins against almost everyone on this site

    He’s awesome, best Phillies SS ever, and again, my favorite player on the team

    But Hall-of-Fame is reserved for the guys that are THE GREATEST in baseball

    Rollins’ MVO season was cool.. he would have to have about 5 seasons like that to get in the HOF.. and I just dont see it happening (i’d love to be wrong about that, but I’m pretty sure im right)

    Cal and Jimmy don’t really compare, because they are different types of hitters

    They have about the same batting average, (Ripken actually has a higher On-Base-Percentage..

    And if Rollins plays 10 more years, and you doubled his stat totals

    HRs: Ripken 431 vs. Rollins 292*
    RBIs: Ripken 1695 vs. Rollins 1242*
    Runs: Ripken 1647 vs. Rollins 1890*
    Hits: Ripken 3184 vs. Rollins 3258*

    I mentioned like two weeks ago, that Rollins shift to 3rd in a few years might prolong his career.. he definitely has the arm strength to play there, as he’ll begin to lose some range.. But I def don’t think Rollins plays for another 10 years.. so the comparison between those two players doesn’t really work at all

  18. Chuck

    March 15, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Ripken actually had quite a bit of range. And when he moved to 3B, he did very well. Saw him play MANY times. To say his “defense was a joke” is certainly typical of your negative comments.

    Ozzie was the best I saw at SS.

  19. Chuck

    March 15, 2010 at 11:06 am

    There is NO DOUBT that Cal moving to third base prolonged his career. Will Jimmy agree to do that?? I guess if he knows that he can play a few more years….then why not???

  20. The Dipsy

    March 15, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Yes. They are two different types of players. If I had to pick one of the two to plat SS for me, I would pick Jimmy. I realize that reasonable minds can differ. And Don, if you read the list of SS’s in the Hall, I guarantee you’ll be completely underwhelmed. I agree the Hall should be reserved for the greatest. Too bad the Hall doesn’t feel that way. If I were running the Hall, I would take at least 10 of them out. But seeing as we do have a standard to go by, Jimmy belongs if he plays another five years to par.

    The Dipsy

  21. Don M

    March 15, 2010 at 11:10 am

    If Rollins starts getting 200 hits per season (which he’s only done once, 212 Hits, in 2007)

    It would take him almost 7 full seasons to reach 3,000 hits..

    If I had to bet my life on it, I would say that Rollins doesn’t join the 3,000 hit club of Major League Baseball

  22. Chuck

    March 15, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Dipsy, he needs MORE than another five years.

  23. Badfinger

    March 15, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I love Jimmy, I think he’s great. People that know me might not think that because of the way I bash him, but that’s mostly because I want him to take some walks and not pop up so much. With that said, he’s not even in the same galaxy as Cal Ripken, let alone the same planet.

    Jimmy is a very good defensive shortstop that has actually improved in the last few years, and is now the best defensive shortstop in the NL kind of by default because some guys got old, some guys couldn’t hit at ALL and got moved out, no one knows about Troy Tulowitski, and Jose Reyes was hurt.

    Jimmy as an offensive shortstop is decidedly average. He was right in the middle of qualified shortstops for OPS last year. He was right in the middle the year before. Hanley was so much better in his MVP year it’s nearly a crime, and he was middle of the road in ’06 as well. And average is ok! With the best 2nd baseman in baseball and a man that can’t hit a curveball but still gets 45 home runs a year getting average production from Jimmy is great. It’s fantastic he’s developed some power in the last few years, that reads really well into his decline years. I wish Charlie would grow some brains and drop him to 6th in the order where he should be where those doubles and home runs would do more good and put someone who can get on base more than 30% of the time in the leadoff spot.

    And now to Ripken- Jimmy Rollins’ MVP season would be the 5th highest pure OPS of Ripken’s career. If you go by OPS+ ( udging him against a stat adjusted for the offense of the league at the time) it’d be Ripken’s 9th best.

    See? It sounds like I hate Jimmy Rollins, but I love the guy. He’s that guy-the carryover from when the teams were awful, to when they were building but couldn’t get it done, to champions. It’s just that when people say things like he might be a Hall of Famer when Barry Larkin can’t even get in I get itchy.

  24. Georgie

    March 15, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Dips, thanks for giving Jimmy his due, I don’t think the fans in Philly (not PN, because most on here realize what we have) give him enough credit, it’s all about Chase, Ryan, and now Roy. I honestly don’t think the team would be where they are now without Jimmy, he is the catalyst, the spark that drives the engine.

    mikemike, we are about the same age, and I agree that Ozzie was the best, so awesome to watch him play. I saw a documentary on him, and when he was little he used a paper bag as a glove because his mom couldn’t afford to buy a real one. When he did get his first glove, his mom said it never left his hand, he slept with it, took it to school, it became a part of him.

  25. The Dipsy

    March 15, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Barry Larkin will get in. In order for this article to make sense to anyone, the reader must be willing to extrapolate Jimmy’s stats over say (OK, give) five years. I think that it is completely realistic to see Jimmy play SS until he is 37. He is in good health and has remained relatively injury free. What some are not factoring in to my assertion, and maybe I didn’t make it clear enough in the article, is that Jimmy…like Reese and Rizzuto…has the luxury of being a vital cog on one of the great teams of a generation. That gives guts extra juice. That goes for a lot when guys vote. So take his stats at the end and add it to how great his team was and his role on it = HOF.


    The Dipsy

  26. The Dipsy

    March 15, 2010 at 11:28 am

    “guys”, not “guts”

    The Dipsy

  27. Steve Jeltz

    March 15, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Barry Larkin and Derek Jeter will both enter before Jimmy Rollins. Remember too that this same current voter class snubbed Alan Trammell, who statistically is Barry Larkin without the PR. Omar Vizquel also has a darn good shot – half by the Ozzie argument (superlative defensive), and half with an outside chance at 3000 hits. So Jimmy might have to wait.

  28. Steve Jeltz

    March 15, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Edgar Renteria is also on pace for 3000 hits as a primary shortstop. He has 2185 through age 32. It helps that he’s been an MLB regular since he was 19 years old on those ’96 Marlins.

  29. Steve Jeltz

    March 15, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Jimmy needs 8 more years as a regular (170 hits a year) to hit 3000. We’ll see. He has 1629 through his first 9.1 years and age 30.

  30. BurrGundy

    March 15, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I really like Rollins. If he could improve his on-base-percentage, then I would agree that he would probably make the HOF. He is exciting, an excellent fielder and a leader. Those playing ss has changed and there are some outstanding competitors for Rollins in the HOF. Here are some names that likely will compete for a placque in the HOF:

    *Omar Visques (2700 hits, 10 gold gloves and still playing)
    *Derek Jeter ( a shoe-in)
    *Nomar Garciaparra ( great player before shoulder injuries)
    *Alan Trammell (outstanding lifetime numbers)
    *Miguel Tajada (Great player, MVP)
    *Raphael Furcal (Still playing strong and outstanding ss)
    *Edgar Renteria (Don’t laugh, he has won gold gloves, hits well and has
    won a world championship)
    *Troy Tulowitzki ( Young player with power who will likely change
    *Jose Reyes (Still very young and already has some impressive stats.)
    *Hanley Ramiriz (Young, powerful and talented with many more years
    to compile big numbers.)

    This is steep competition for J-Roll. I personally hope he makes it in and the next five years will tell the story.

  31. Don M

    March 15, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Omar Vizquel is a LOCK

  32. Bob in Bucks

    March 15, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Nice article.

    I think Dipsy put it right, IF JRoll can keep it up for another 5 years he is a good candidate for HOF. I don’t think he is in the top category but he is a very good SS and can swing the bat (maybe too often, but he can hit).

  33. NJ

    March 15, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    If Andre Dawson’s a HOFer Jimmy is but he isn’t… Will go down as a very good player once its all said and done but not hall worthy.

    Of that group only Jeter and Vizquel are hall worthy no question, but when you consider all of the guys from this generation who’ll be going on the the ballot who are question marks the rest of those guys are third tier at best. Garciaparra vs Vlad, Reyes vs Adam Dunn…

  34. NJ

    March 15, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    ^Rollins is 128th on the steal list which is his real ‘sexy’ attribute…

    Looking at it he’s going to be nowhere near the passing grade on any of the main categories. Love the guy but he’s not near being on pace for the hall right now (unless anyone can see anything in his numbers to suggest otherwise)

  35. Don M

    March 15, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    To get in the HOF . . . you generally have to be THE BEST for like a decade

    He’s not there

    Utley needs to have 5 great seasons still before he would get in

    and same for Howard..

  36. Chuck

    March 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    This article reminds me of an argument that was made on here some months ago about Chase Utley being a future HOFer.

    Can we please just wait a few years before we start the induction process on some of these guys that are WAAAAYYYY to young for discussion.?? In Jimmy’s case, he may have only played HALF of his total time…..that’s too early to start suggesting HOF credentials.

  37. shag beta sigma delta

    March 15, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    For once I totally agree with you Dipsy, five more years of good stats and he would have to be considered. Especially if the Phillies get to three straight WS or if he wins another one or two in the next five years, that stuff matters. Like it or not Jimmy was the cornerstone of this team, and played very hard when they were bad, and is the face of this team, I love Utley and Howard but the came up after him, so you can say they built around Jimmy. And way too much has been said obp, he gets on enough to score 100+ runs a year so he has to get on base some time. You also have to take these guys in the generation they played, tilio, rayes, and rameriz are not really his peers per say, you are looking at Jeter, Renteria, Tajada and Nomar. All of which except for Jeter, I would put behind Jimmy. Nomar didn’t stay healthy, Tajada linked to roids, Renteria, too much of a jouneymen for me.

  38. NJ

    March 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Chase is right up there with the very best to ever play 2nd base offensively. I personally project forward think Chase will have a better case than Ryan as there will be so many 500HR guys but appreciate the counter-argument.

    Jimmy is a great offensive shortstop but nowhere near the top all-time when you project him out, he’s not climbing up the lists as he’s barely on them and he’s had his bit outage years. Greatest Phillies shortstop but his numbers offensively don’t stand out, he’ll be nowhere near even the grey area with hits, steals, doubles.

  39. Chuck

    March 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Again….for all three of these guys….Howard, Utley, and Rollins….I just think that you need to wait AT LEAST five years….before even having this discussion.

    They are all awesome players in their own right…..and, yeah….if they continue to play like crazy….then they might/should/could/maybe will be considered.

    But they aren’t close to being there yet….and so much can happen between now and then. Career-ending injury. Steroids (although, I doubt it with these guys). Just hitting a wall and playing below potential for several years. Etc. Etc. Etc.

  40. NJ

    March 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Renteria, Tejada, aren’t close… Nomar is likely to be on the Scotty Rolen, Jeff Bagwell, Don Mattingley list of what ifs.

    I love Jimmy, pisses me off sometimes with the nonchalant over-confidence sometimes but he is one of the great Phillies, problem is he’s not even going to be touching the top 75 in 5 years in his top offensive categories even with MVP caliber years, he’d need to be somewhere near the top in at least a couple with the awesome glove numbers. There are just gonna be too many unsexy guys with a hall worthy number somewhere like Biggio’s and Helton’s pass over for a Rollins.

  41. mikemike

    March 15, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    The hall of fame issue to me at this point is senseless ,not enough time to judge him for hall of fame. Cal defense at short was a joke. saw a lot of him he had no range but if you want to say he did go ahead, he was a offense shortstop just like ramirez for florida is, ramirez is a error machine ,but his offense numbers if he keeps up will get him in. but the hall should be for all around play but thats another story.

  42. Chuck

    March 15, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I saw a lot of him as well…..and I DO “want to say he did” (have range)

    Thanks for the permsission, mikemike….now crawl back into your dark, dingy hole.

  43. The Dipsy

    March 15, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Carlton Fisk. One of the greatest offensive players? No. But he’s a catcher. Ryne Sandberg. One of the greatest offensive players? No. But he’s a second baseman. C, SS, 2B are not held to the same offensive threshold as other positions. That said, to say that Jimmy will not be in the top 50 or 75 of anything does not necessarily mean as much. If Fisk and Sandberg played the OF, they wouldn’t have gotten in. When Jimmy ends up with 2,800 hits and has been to the Series four times, winning twice, been MVP once, has 7 GG’s, just keep him out. And all those achievements are realistic.

    The Dipsy

  44. Chuck

    March 15, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Series 4 times and winning twice….WRONG!!!

    That should be winning THREE times….

    …..just wanted to clarify.

  45. The Original Chuck P

    March 15, 2010 at 1:38 pm

  46. Chuck

    March 15, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    That sucks.

  47. NJ

    March 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    For a C, SS, 2nd basemen to be hall worthy offensively they have to excel in an area like Craig Biggio with hits and doubles and he’s considered to be a borderline at best, Jimmy’s going to have to go a long way to reach even that level and he doesn’t have many good offensive years left in him, he isn’t Jeter offensively.

    He’s like Bernie Williams, great player of his generation to watch, hell of a team leader but even for an SS he doesn’t look to have the numbers.

  48. The Dipsy

    March 15, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    NJ – He doesn’t need Biggio numbers if he has won an MVP and two WS. Thats big time stuff. How many SS have won the MVP? The strength of his stats and a push from the currents of an alltime great club will carry him in. Houston sucked. Thats why Biggio is not in. He plays for the a WS winner and wins an MVP, he walks in. Vizquel has no shot. Bernie never won an MVP played OF/DH. Guys like him are a dime a dozen. I can name you ten guys better than him that aren’t in.

    The Dipsy

  49. bfo_33

    March 15, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    The guys (or the fan bases) who fight the most for HoF credentials are usually those who don’t have a ring (Jim Rice, Whitey, Dawson). My guess is that at the end of his career, Jimmy will be much happier with his 3 or 4 rings.
    Also, don’t consider Cal joke at short, played hard, caught everything he could get, but he didn’t move to his right very well. Similar to Jeter with more power, less contact, only average defensively.

  50. Manny

    March 15, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Oh no Polanco!! Straining your right knee doesn’t sound too good…

    Vic back to the 2nd hole?

  51. derekcarstairs

    March 15, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Chuck – I agree with you that this is a topic to re-visit in 5 years.

    By then, we should have a better idea if Howard has a good shot at 500-600 HRs. HRs will be his ticket to the HOF.

    By then, we should also judge better how Utley stacks up with other second basemen like Morgan, Sandberg and Kent. If he compares favorably with those three, Utley will get in (He actually may need 6 or 7 years to be the career leader in HRs for a second basemen.).

    In Rollins’ case, I think he needs either great career numbers in a number of categories, which he can achieve in 5 years or so, or 3,000 hits, which will take a few years longer. 3,000 hits is probably still a credential for automatic entry into the HOF. Otherwise, JRoll’s career numbers will be compared with those of other shortstops.

    We will also have to wait 4 or 5 years before we can make a sound judgment about Halladay’s HOF credentials.

  52. Badfinger

    March 15, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Carlton Fisk and Ryne Sandberg are not only almost 20% better offensively respective to era, they’re also better offensively straight up. Those guys are not a good comparison to Rollins because they weren’t defensive players at their position, they were offensive. Sandberg had a year where he hit 40 home runs, Fisk had almost 400 for his career. Those are superlative numbers for C and 2B in the 70s and 80s.

  53. NJ

    March 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Rollins would need 4 or 5 MVP caliber years to get even be in earshot of great career numbers in the non-power categories.

    The power numbers are going to have to be re-addressed for the Hall, Adam Dunn’s gonna have 500 homers and it will be a joke if he gets in. Andruw Jones, Giambi could conceivably be near, Delgado will be over 500, likely Vlad and maybe guys like Konerko and Carlos Lee… Vlad’s really the only one that has a right when you have so many guys being passed over. Don’t get how writers/analysts can say it’s all about winning and performing in October and not even really consider Bernie Williams.

  54. The Original Chuck P

    March 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Jimmy could easily play his way into the hall… he doesn’t have to play outside of himself; just be consistent over the next 5-8 years and he’ll definitely have a spot. MVP, multiple gold gloves, silver slugger… at SS, defense plays more of a role than any other position (except maybe catcher). Jimmy doesn’t need 3000 hits. Play defense, continue to hit the ball hard and he could go down as one of the better ones.

    At this point, I can’t see how you could project him ahead of Cal, though… Cal is the epitome of consistency. Plus, when you look at Cal’s longevity and body of work, there really is no comparison. His power numbers, 2 MVP’s, 1 ROY, 8 SS, 19 consecutive all-star appearances. Almost 100% first-ballot…

  55. Chuck

    March 15, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    For HRs…..600 will (and should) be the new 500……if you’re looking mainly at HRs as a bench mark for getting in.

  56. WFC010

    March 15, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    The steroid era really screwed up HR totals, so even if guys like Bonds and Mcgwire never make the Hall, legit guys like Thome and Howard are still going to have their totals compared to the steroid guys.

  57. NJ

    March 15, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    One dimensional players also screwed up the HR totals.

    The thing is you need to look at Jimmy’s stats and what he can realistically total up in the next 5-6 years, his raw numbers aren’t as impressive as how he has been perceived, he’ll have to put up very good years to be in earshot of those numbers that will put him in consideration as his skills regress. He has less hits and steals than Juan Pierre and an OPS only .48pts higher than the guy considered to be a mockery by the saebermetrists. I’d love to see him in the running for the hall but really do think he’s going to have to go a long way to be in real contention and will need to get very high on the list for doubles and triples to boost the other areas.

  58. The Dipsy

    March 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    The Original Chuck – Thank you. Shortstops are lousy hitters in general. Jimmy is averaging 105 runs over a his first 9 big league seasons. Are you kidding? Look at the other SSs in MLB. Are you kidding me? My point is that Jimmy is now reaching the point in his career where he has played long enough and well enough to start the conversation. Does he have to do more? Of course he does. Why doesn’t someone compare his offensive numbers to the SSs that are in the Hall?

    The Dipsy

  59. Chuck

    March 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Shortstops USED TO BE lousy hitters….in the days of Mark Belanger who got away with it enough because he was so good at defense.

    But guys like Ripken, Jeter, A-Rod, others….changed that…to where now it’s almost EXPECTED that shortstops do well offensively.

    And, no…..he hasn’t “reached the point in his career where he has played long to start the conversation.”

  60. BurrGundy

    March 15, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Rollins is a run machine, great fielder, charismatic player who is a leader and solid hitter. If he gets on base more, he scores more runs. All he needs to do is improve his on-base-percentage and bunt more to do this. He is exciting and we are really lucky to have such a great shortstop. I remember Desi Relaford, Bobby Wine and Kim Baptiste. Jimmy , after another five years of success, has a defintite chance of making the Hall.

  61. Brett

    March 15, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    There will always be a debate over what constitutes greatness. Jim Rice is a fine example of a player who was good over a long period of time, but there is still a question over whether or not that makes him “great”.

    Ozzie Smith was better defensively, but Rollins has been a more productive hitter over time. Rollins doesn’t produce like Hanley Ramirez, but his glove is far slicker. If over the rest of his career, he continues to be a well rounded player, and his numbers stay where they were in 2005 or 2007, Jimmy has a solid shot to reach the Hall.

    I wonder about Jamie Moyer as well. If he continues to win games, he’ll keep moving himself up the all-time wins list. Does that make him a Hall of Fame player? Obviously he doesn’t have the same raw “stuff” as obvious Hall of Fame Players, but if all the players ahead of him are in the Hall, and some of the players behind him are in the Hall, is it fair for him not to be?

  62. R.C. Cowie

    March 15, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Steve Jeltz would be appalled by this article. How can he not be considered the greatest Phillies shortstop, moreover; the greatest shortstop in the history of Earth. We wouldn’t name a game day award after any schulb of a player, like Richie Ashburn.

  63. Brooks

    March 15, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I think as The Dipsy alluded to – that voting for the HOF prior to Jackie Robinson was questionable at best. There are characters in the HOF with lifetime Batting averages hoovering near the .250 mark, no power to speak of, no rings to display – you have to wonder how these people got in. Don’t forget, during the time they played, how many people got to watch them? Read about their heroics or hear about them?
    Different world back then. I would be interested to see who actually did the voting and what was the basis of their decisions.
    Anyone have an update on Poly’s injury?
    ANOTHER sweet outing by our ace Halladay – he finally gave up a run which inflated his ERA to .090 for the Spring. Herndon and Durbin have not given up a run, still.
    This is great stuff. Howard had 2 more hits today – as long as he is making contact, we know the power will show for this notoriously slow starter. this is tremendous stuff. Go Phils!

  64. Chuck

    March 15, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    This from Polanco….

    “It’s nothing bad. No DL situation or anything. It’s probably day to day. Now that the doctor took a look at it, it’s nothing big at all….It’s getting better now already after the icing an all that.”

  65. The Original Chuck P

    March 15, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    See, Dip, you and I can actually agree on something…

    I will say that you are crazy for not taking Cal over Jimmy, though… projecting forward (and if he stays on track… big IF), I would say that he ends up top 10 PURE modern-day shortstops of all-time when he retires. Wagner, Jeter, Ripken, Vizquel, Smith, Aparicio, Tejada, Rollins, Renteria…

    Glad to hear that about Polly…

  66. The Dipsy

    March 15, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    But not necessarily in that order, correct OC?


    Wagner, Jeter, Aparicio, Ozzie, Larkin, Ripken, J-Ro, Tejada.

    And a shout out to my favorite fantasy player of all time, the late, great, SS – Howard Johnson. 30-30 out of the SS position is pretty sweet (not a pure SS, tho.)

    The Dipsy

  67. PhxPhilly

    March 15, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I agree that Rollins can be considered for HOF. The background is sufficient, but he needs to be a Top5 offensive SS each year for the next 5 with a GG each season.
    Larkin was a great player and Rollins will have the benefit of being on Championship caliber teams to get extra publicity. Having some big-time post season’s and some highlight game winning plays in the World Series would certainly help.
    After his season last year, I would not project him to keep up his offense enough and will be overshadowed by Utley.
    And if Rollins moves to 3B it better be in about 10 years because he will need to get in primarily on defense and longevity at SS.

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  69. Alex B.

    March 15, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    I don’t comment here much, but I have to say I think you’re underrating Cal a whole lot.

    His bat doesn’t look that great compared to, say, Jeter, but you have to remember that the first half of his career was played in the much more pitcher-friendly years of the ’80s. And he still is a better hitter than Rollins by any measure. Stolen bases are the only category in which Rollins beats Ripken. If nothing else, compare their career OPS+: 112 vs. 97. So Ripken was an above-average hitter for his career, including his waning years, while Rollins has been a slightly below-average hitter and hasn’t started declining yet (we hope).

    And Cal’s defense was sorely underrated. For example:

    Fielding Runs Above Average (TotalZone) per 1,250 innings at SS:

    Mark Belanger: 18.6
    Ozzie Smith: 13.1
    Cal Ripken, Jr.: 10.4
    Omar Vizquel: 7.1
    Jimmy Rollins: 4.2
    Alex Rodriguez: 2.0
    Miguel Tejada: -4.5
    Derek Jeter: -7.7

    (taken from Baseball-Reference)

    Heck, you can even look at Range Factor. Cal got to more balls than Jimmy does: 4.73 per 9 innings, compared to Jimmy’s 4.26.

    I think J-Roll is fantastic, and none of this is intended as a slight against him. But I feel the need to point out just how great Ripken was, especially since he played on a declining Baltimore club for most of his career, and his skill was largely overshadowed by the streak.

  70. The Dipsy

    March 15, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Cal Ripken – Great player. Home run hitting SS. Rollins has Ripken beat in SB and Runs…by a ton. Shortstop is traditionally a light hitting position where guys can probably run reasonable well. Ripken and Rollins are two different players. You want a table setter, you take Rollins. More of an RBI guy – Ripken. Vanilla. Chocolate. I give Cal his due.

    The Dipsy

  71. DFFD

    March 15, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Has him beat in runs by a ton???

    “Runs: Ripken 1647 vs. Rollins 1890*”

    that’s if you take his current total and double it – which seems pretty unlikely. so I might take issue with that.

  72. The Dipsy

    March 15, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Thats a ton.

    The Dipsy

  73. DFFD

    March 15, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Ummm actually it’s 15% percent and it’s not even a projection. It’s an ABSURD estimation based on simply doubling his current production. How often have little speedy guys maintained their production into their mid and late-30s????

  74. Badfinger

    March 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Why do you keep citing runs as a sign of how good Jimmy is? He has 146 career home runs, which means that they are the only ones you can attribute directly to him. Every other run, no matter if it’s a stolen base, wild pitch, sac fly or Ryan Howard bomb has a source outside of Jimmy Rollins’ bat. He scored 100 runs last year because he limped his way on base in front of possibly the best NL offense of the decade. If he batted 6th or 7th he’d have had 100 RBI instead of 100 runs.

    If I wanted a table setter, I wouldn’t pick Jimmy. He bats lead off because he’s a short, fast dude and not because he’s a good lead off hitter. Moving him out of the lead off spot would be addition by subtraction and addition- put Vic, Werth, Ruiz, God I’d love to see Utley as a 1 hole hitter, ANYONE in the lead off spot who can get on base, and put Rollins further down in the order where his developing power works more to the team’s advantage.

  75. DFFD

    March 15, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Just to keep the runs debate going Rollins just finished his age 30 season with 945 runs. Ripken had 970 runs following his age 30 season. So…

  76. Chuck

    March 15, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    You give “Cal his due”….

    But the fact remains….Cal at age 30 was a legitimate LOCK for the Hall

    Rollins at age 30 is not.


    On another note, Scott Eyre apparentely has not ruled out pitching. Go to http://www.mlbtraderumors and read comments. Interesting……..

  77. Yankee Fan, Phillies Phriend

    March 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Scooter as a HoFer shortstop “mostly because of [his] association with [a] great team”? Seriously?

  78. deebo

    March 15, 2010 at 10:16 pm


    i need the name of your dealer. it’s obviously top shelf stuff. forget 3000 hits. he’d have to start until he’s 40. or 43. ain’t gonna happen. bowa had like 2500 and, until omar vizquel came along, THE best fielding percentage at SS for his career. i don’t think he sniffed making the ballot a second time. rollins will forever be plagued by his OBP and the fact that his career was bracketed by the likes of a-rod, nomar, jeter, vizquel, tejada in front and ramirez, tulowitzki and maybe reyes behind.

    cripes, even richie ashburn, who couldn’t crack the lyrics of “talkin’ baseball,” needed to be voted in by the veteran’s committee because he had the misfortune of competing against mays and mantle (and the duke).

    BTW, utley hasn’t put up biggio numbers yet, let alone jeff kent’s. howard has half the stats of pujols and 1/3 of the mvp awards and anyone that thinks hamels gets in better start with the argument that carlton went 13-20 in 1973.

  79. The Dipsy

    March 16, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Deebo, as I said, if you are able to extrapolate Rollins’ numbers out, he is a better candidate that all those players you mentioned save A-Rod and Jeter. Vizquel is not going in and neither is Tejada. Thats just the way it is.

    The Dipsy

  80. Chuck

    March 16, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Vizquel has a chance.


  81. Duffie_D

    March 16, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Jimmy Rollins is the premier defensive shortstop of this generation, and underrated in that regard IMO. He has deserved more Gold Gloves than he has earned.

    However, he does not pass the most important test for Hall-of-Famers, and that one is this: when people watch him play, do they think “I’m watching a Hall-of-Famer?” I believe it is likely that most people do not think they are.

    Also, there is only one of these players I would put in the “Truly Great” category, and that is Honus Wagner. All those other guys either had one severe deficiency or played only half their career at shortstop.

  82. The Dipsy

    March 16, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Ozzie not a Hall of Famer? Hmmmmmm.

    The Dipsy

  83. DFFD

    March 16, 2010 at 10:59 am

    “Jimmy Rollins is the premier defensive shortstop of this generation, and underrated in that regard IMO. He has deserved more Gold Gloves than he has earned.”

    Really???? See below. If he’s underrated defensively then what the hell is Cal (who absolutely destroys Rollins offensively)???

    Fielding Runs Above Average (TotalZone) per 1,250 innings at SS:

    Mark Belanger: 18.6
    Ozzie Smith: 13.1
    Cal Ripken, Jr.: 10.4
    Omar Vizquel: 7.1
    Jimmy Rollins: 4.2
    Alex Rodriguez: 2.0
    Miguel Tejada: -4.5
    Derek Jeter: -7.7

    (taken from Baseball-Reference)

    Heck, you can even look at Range Factor. Cal got to more balls than Jimmy does: 4.73 per 9 innings, compared to Jimmy’s 4.26.

  84. The Dipsy

    March 16, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Really? How many runs did Cal average per season? SB? BA? Gimme a break. He hit more home runs and had more RBI’s. I’ll take Jimmy. And please stop running that stat cuz we’re sick of seeing it. OK, Belanger’s the best. So what’s your point? What a bullsh@t stat that is.

    The Dipsy

  85. DFFD

    March 16, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    So basically what you’re saying is that you’ll take Rollins over Ripken not based on his actual performance on the field (which is OBVIOUSLY inferior and really not even in the same ballpark), but based on your personal fondness for him and apparent inability to understand baseball statistics. Glad we’re all clear. You’d prefer a worse player. Good deal.

    I really don’t know why I’m continuing this, but the point of that statistic is that Ripken was MUCH better defensively than Rollins. Then when you look at basically every offensive stat other than SBs it’s quite clear that Ripken blows Rollins away entirely. Even in runs (which you keep bringing up even though you don’t seem to understand what the stat even means) Ripken had more through his age 30 season than Rollins does. What was your point about BA???? Ripken – 276 and Rollins – 274. And that’s including the 10 additional years that Ripken played – do you really think if Rollins plays for 10 more years his career average is going to go UP???? Your argument is really laughable. He not only hit more HRs and had more RBI – he did every single thing on the baseball field better than Rollins with the exception of SBs and triples. Rollins has a career OPS+ of 97 – that’s not good and will only get worse as he ages. Compare that to Ripken’s OPS+ of 112 – it’s really not rocket science here. Through Rollins’ age 30 season, he had exactly one season with an OPS+ over 110 (and it was only 119). Through Ripken’s age 30 season he had 8 seasons with an OPS+ over 110 (including a 144, 145, and 162!!!).

    Get a clue and stop making yourself look so ignorant on the internet. If you want to say you like the guy more because he’s cooler or you like his style or whatever that’s fine, but don’t try to make the laughable argument that he’s better when it’s totally clear that he’s not even close.

  86. DFFD

    March 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    That’s what I thought. No explanation for your completely absurd statements.

  87. Catch 22 f/k/a H Man

    March 18, 2010 at 11:17 am

    In looking at the bigger picture, I don’t think you can just look at HOF players as a comparison. You also need to look at players that are currently playing or were great but have not made the HOF.

    To me, there is absolutely no question that, with current players, Jeter is better. Jeter is among the true greats (and, no, I’m not a Yankees fan – I detest the Yankees – but his greatness is indisputable). Hanley Ramirez is just starting out, so it’s hard to guage, but he’s in another stratosphere in terms of offensive ability – he’s entirely off the charts, unless a former shortstop named Alex Rodriguez is on your chart. That guy Rodriguez played a hell of a long time as a SS (9 seasons – we lose track of how long he’s been a major league player) and he is and was a better player than Ernie Banks, which is saying something. You’ve also got Omar Vizquel (did he retire?) – who is a traditional shortstop who might go in – he’s a great player in the field, but I don’t view him as being as good as Rollins on the whole.

    As for guys not in the HOF – where’s Barry Larkin? Sorry to bring this up Phils fans, but he was a better player than Rollins. Maybe not by a huge margin, but, truthfully, he was better. So, I hope and believe Rollins should go in, but it may not happen or, if it does happen, it may take a long time and there’s probably no way that Rollins goes in if Larkin does not as I think most people share my view as to who was the better player (although, admittedly, Rollins still writing his resume).

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