Jimmy Rollins is one of the best shortstops in Phillies history, and will undoubtedly be on the Phillies Wall of Fame one day. But will he be in Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame as well? I say that he should get in eventually, though I don’t think he ever will. Our writers take a look:
Eric Seidman: Jimmy Rollins has 48.6 WAR in his career, which ranks 12th among shortstops in the expansion era (1961-now). However, he also has at least another three years left to play on his current deal. Assuming he averages the conservative estimates of 3 WAR, 140 hits, 20 SB and 13 HR per season, he would be at around 58 WAR, 2,450 hits, 470 SB and 240 HR. His WAR total would place him 8th among shortstops in the pre-defined expansion era, which when coupled with his all-star appearances, gold gloves, MVP and World Series title, seems like it should be enough.
However, he would also be right behind Alan Trammell in that WAR leaderboard, and Trammell is one of the posterchildren for players who deserve to get in but haven’t. It’s going to be hard to imagine voters considering Jimmy when they have mostly ignored Trammell. Rollins has had a fantastic career and he is undeniably one of the best Phillies of all-time, but he seems destined for that Trammell-territory of being deserving and getting HOF support each year but not getting in.
Donald McGettigan: I’d say no. Fair or unfair, that’s how I think the baseball writers will vote when the time comes for Jimmy Rollins. Don’t get me wrong, Rollins has put together a great career to this point (and is my favorite player), but I don’t think he has dominated the sport the way I feel a Hall of Fame player should. Hall of Fame players should be perennial All-Star and MVP candidates, they should win 10 Gold Gloves (not just 3), they should strike fear into opposing players, and should be the no-doubt-about-it best players in the game. I don’t think Rollins quite fits that billing.
I wrote in Spring Training that I think Jimmy Rollins is a sure thing Wall-of-Famer, and went a step further by saying I think the Phillies should eventually retire his #11. Barring injury, Rollins is within striking distance of becoming the Phillies all-time leader in categories like Hits and At-bats, and Top 3 all time in Games Played, Runs, Stolen Bases and Total Bases. His longevity and production with this organization should be recognized in a special way, but I don’t see how he can be viewed among the greatest to ever play Major League Baseball.
Pat Gallen: Rollins might get close, based on some of the numbers Eric put forth. But using the eye test, I just don’t see actual voters putting him in the hall. Even as he’s put together a fairly impressive resume for a shortstop that stands maybe 5’8″ (it’s hard to play the game when you’re small, right?), I agree with Don in that he hasn’t really dominated for more than just his MVP season.
If we’re looking at some of the other shortstops who have entered the hall before him, how many of them would you take over Jimmy? His numbers actually slide right in there with some of the best, especially in the power category. He’s also third among active shortstops in stolen bases. The Phillies should absolutely retie that #11, but if you’re holding a gun to my head, I’m saying he’s not quite a Hall of Famer – and I think the voters will vote that way, too.
Corey Seidman: No Hall of Fame for Jimmy Rollins. The last four shortstops inducted into Cooperstown were Barry Larkin, Cal Ripken, Ozzie Smith and Robin Yount.
Ripken was a tremendous hitter for his position and had a streak that will probably never be broken. Smith was the best defensive shortstop ever. Yount hit .305 during a nine-year peak and played the two hardest positions other than catcher. Larkin was a .295 career hitter who made 12 All-Star teams.
J-Roll is not on that level, counting numbers or no counting numbers.
As Eric said, Rollins will fall into the Alan Trammell category. This is the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Very Good. You can’t convince me that Jimmy Rollins is one of the best 300 players in the history of baseball. Sorry.