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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.

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