The Phillies Nation Top 100: #32 Scott Rolen – Phillies Nation
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The Phillies Nation Top 100: #32 Scott Rolen

The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #32. Our mission is to assess the Top 100 Phillies players of all time using impact to the Phillies, individual achievement, team achievement, traditional stats, and analytics as our criteria. The list was compiled by Ian Riccaboni and Pat Gallen with input from the rest of the Phillies Nation staff. 

From this point forward, each weekday, we will reveal two Phillies from the PN Top 100 in separate posts. To view the 2008 iteration of the list of Greatest Phillies of All Time as compiled by Tim Malcolm, please click here.

Please check back this afternoon for #31.

#32 – Scott Rolen

Years: 1996-2002

.282/.373/.504, 150 HR, 71 SB in 3643 PA

Previous Rank: 28 (-4)

fWAR Phillies Rank: 16th among position players, 24th among Phillies

1997 NL Rookie of the Year, 2002 NL All-Star, Three Gold Gloves (1998, 2000-2001)

Is there a player that is met with more of a collective groan in Phillies history than Scott Rolen? A second round draft pick out of Jasper, IN in 1993, Rolen was a three-time Baseball America Top 100 prospect from 1995 through 1997, topping out at #13 prior to his official rookie year. Rolen would burst on to the scene as a 21-year old Phillie in 1996, hitting .300/.363/.444 through his first 26 games. Rolen would cool off through the end of 1996, getting a break for much of September but made the team out of camp in 1997, winning the NL Rookie of the Year, hitting 21 HR, stealing 16 bags and hitting .283/.377/.469.

Rolen would be among the best third baseman in baseball for the parts of seven seasons he spent in Philadelphia. From 1997 through 2002, Rolen ranked second in baseball in fWAR among third baseman behind only Chipper Jones, ranking third in homers, second in runs, second in RBIs, second in steals, ninth in OBP, third in slugging, and third in OPS. Despite his production, Rolen was frequently the subject of boos and cheers after he rejected a Phillies offer of 10 years, $140 million prior to the 2002 season, including a shower of boos when Rolen refused a curtain call after hitting two homers against the Montreal Expos in a June 1, 2002 win against the Expos. Rolen’s introverted personality clashed with manager Larry Bowa‘s extremely extroverted personality and Rolen’s demand for a trade to a contender was executed on July 29, 2002. Rolen and reliever Doug Nickle were traded to St. Louis for the countdown’s #60 Placido Polanco, starter Bud Smith, and reliever Mike Timlin.

Had Rolen stuck with the Phillies, he may have been a top fifteen or perhaps even a top ten player in club history. Rolen would win a World Series ring in 2006 with St. Louis, making seven All-Star teams, winning eight Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger, and ranks ninth in fWAR in baseball history among third basemen. It can be fun to think of what might have been for the teams that were so close to making the playoffs in 2003, 2005, and 2006 had Rolen at the hot corner but knowing Rolen didn’t want to be in Philadelphia, it makes it a lot easier to digest. And admittedly, it was fun watching Rolen go 1 for 11 in the 2010 NLDS against the Phillies.

In the annals of Phillies history, Rolen was one of the best, one of the Holy Trinity at the hot corner. Yet, his ugly exit taints his position in Phillies history among fans. Rolen would wrap up his career after the 2012 season, finishing his career with 316 HR and 118 SB.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Phil Anderson

    February 5, 2014 at 10:13 am

    This is a fair statement! To say the least, that we had struggling teams & a Bumbling manager with a psychotic attitude, who was an athlete of the smallest proportion on the Phillies teams of 1979-80’s! Why is Bowa back in Philadelphia, he is just bad for baseball!!
    He has just sent this team, to the basement, with his unnerving, spineless yelling! The best place for him is on a beach where some “Real Man” will pop him in the Mouth!

    Is Amaro crazy, an when will Sandburg, send him packing! Bowa is the “Acid Icing”, that will destroy any Improvement this 2014 team will see!

    Rollin had enough sense & vision to see better motivators on other teams! Rank him #2 -20 but he deserves better the some of “Meatball Fans” show at CBP! I don’t plan on visiting CBP, & Ready to cut Comcast! While your at it, Put a Negative Vote in for Homers Wheeler & Graham, They don’t know when to Shut up! So many Good college announcers!

    Hope to here back from you! A Lifelong Phillies Fan, but have switched games & Teams many times. Francona is 10 times a better manager, sad when they left him go!

    • Ryne Duren

      February 5, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Hey Phil hate to break the news but Francoma sucked. He won in Boston cause any manager who had that team could have won. I’m a lifelong Phils fan who has never switched teams. I’ve bitched and moaned for years but I never left my team for another because of how bad they were. You’re no lifelong fan! Your own comment contradicts that statement. To switch teams ? Was that in another life?

      • Double Trouble Del

        February 5, 2014 at 11:47 am

        Although Phil’s post is disjointed and generally misguided, Francona was exactly the type of manager that those Red Sox teams needed. His record speaks for itself..2 World Titles.

    • Mike B

      February 5, 2014 at 10:49 am

      Wow! Who are these “Sandburg” and “Rollin” people! Why are you shouting!

  2. Ryne Duren

    February 5, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Yea Ian Rolen was a gem of a player. We had waited a while for an adequate 3rd sacker since Schmidt. After he refused that offer from the Phils, and I think he had said “I want to see some commitment to winning” I thought WTF! The Phils had just recently gave Abreau a fairly big extended contract and had signed Schilling or were trying too. When he said that I thought to myself you ungrateful POS! I was glad when they traded him. You’re right one can only wonder if he had stayed and blended into our fan culture. We could have possibly won a division or two more and possibly another WS in 09. We’ll never know that’s for sure.

  3. DadsInKeyLargo

    February 5, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Boooooooo!

    10 years $140m in 2002.

    Boooooooo!

  4. Bart Shart

    February 5, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Rolen was a great fielder and a solid hitter. I wonder if his numbers would have been greater if he had a great attitude. Also, Larry Bowa was a poor example of a leader, in my opinion. He publicly criticized his players and that really bit him in the ass. I wonder if he will help Ryne Sandberg as a coach. I really have my doubts.

    • Mike B

      February 5, 2014 at 10:53 am

      I don’t think Bowa did a great job (he might be better-suited as an assistant than as “the guy”), but he was certainly the wrong person to deal with Rolen. Rolen would have meshed much better with a guy like Manuel.

      I really liked Rolen when he was here, and he was a fantastic player, but I can’t help but feel like he never really reached his potential (here or in STL).

  5. Laura Hoogerwerff

    February 5, 2014 at 10:51 am

    I loved watching Rolen play in Philadelphia. He deserved better treatment from the fans. He played hard every game every at bat. He and Bowa did not get along because of personality differences. We have get to get a solid third baseman.

  6. NBourbaki

    February 5, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Q) Is Rolen HoF?

    • Jeff

      February 5, 2014 at 11:14 am

      I think so. 300+ HR, 500+ 2B, 2000+ hits, 1200+ RBI and runs, arguably best defensive 3B ever and career WAR of 70. If he hadn’t developed shoulder and back problems in his prime he’d probably have been a first ballot.

      • schmenkman

        February 5, 2014 at 11:42 am

        He has a decent shot, but while he was one of the best fielding third basemen ever I think Brooks Robinson (statistically anyway) is pretty much uncontested as the best ever defensively (with Schmidt as the best overall ahead of Mathews).

  7. Abel Ruiz

    February 5, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Imagine that lineup with j roll, vic, chase, howard, rollen and werth or maybe swap vic and rollen put werth behind howard and vic dehind werth. Would have been a sick lineup a mix of speed and power

  8. mudmin

    February 5, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    I loved watching Rolen and I would have loved to have him be a career Philly, but I think he was right. The Phillies did not have a reputation for winning or doing much to put a winning product on the field. We used to all call Pat Gillick “Stand Pat” because he would stand pat at the trade deadline…never willing to pull the trigger to do the deadline deals to get them over the hump. He left the team after a decade playoff slump. I don’t blame him for wanting to leave. And BTW, Bowa was our Ozzie Guillen…except Guillen had a managerial WS Ring to go along with his nonsense.

  9. mudmin

    February 5, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Quote from Rolen in 2002. “Personally, I’m tired of the excuses, of the promises that aren’t there,” Rolen said. “I was asked to commit for the rest of my career, with the promise of a commitment two years from now, with the new stadium. That is not right to me.

    “I think the fans of Philadelphia deserve better than what they’ve gotten over the last 15 years. I feel bad about that. So $140 million is not the issue here. In my mind, (turning down) $140 million makes me feel bad, but I can’t get over the principle of giving everything I have without any reciprocation from ownership.”

  10. mudmin

    February 5, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Since I’m on a rant, during that 2003-2012 stretch, Rolen made $89,601,305. So, basically he gave up $50 million.

    He got a ring with StL, but would have gotten one with us.

    So, if he stayed, the question is, would we have another championship? I’m wondering if the final verdict is that in the end this cost him $50 mil and both him and Philly another championship.

    Thoughts?

  11. Keith Griggs

    February 5, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    I was a huge Rolen fan while he was here, but like most of you was very upset with his leaving. Bowa was the perfect manager for those teams..they had no sense of urgency and Bowa is full of that(good or bad). Even a young Jimmy Rollins understood that. Had Rolen stayed we would’ve probably had another couple of division titles, but I do not believe he would’ve put us post the Yanks on 09. Just my two cents.

    • mudmin

      February 6, 2014 at 7:25 am

      Maybe not the 09 yanks but what about the 07 Rockies? Or the years that we barely missed the playoffs. His cardinals and those marlins seem to constantly show us what can happen once mediocre teams get in.

      • Keith Griggs

        February 7, 2014 at 1:30 am

        That Marlins team was anything but mediocre they were stacked, but most people put them off as too young. Most of the nucleus of that team has either won or played in multiple WS. As far as the Rockies go…they just had our number that year. Stupid Rockies.

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