There was a lot of talk from Phillies fans this offseason concerning the then-undetermined fate of Jimmy Rollins. This is very similar to the situation the Yankees found themselves in with Derek Jeter after the 2010 season. Before you start cyber-cursing at me, realize that I’m not comparing Rollins to Jeter in terms of their on-field play; obviously Jeter is one of the best to ever play the game. Jeter is a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer if there ever was one, but there is no denying the similarity that each has had in terms of importance to their organization’s history along with their off-field value.
To some, Jimmy Rollins is an aging shortstop, a leadoff hitter that doesn’t quite get on base enough to warrant that spot in the lineup, while to others (myself included), he’s a homegrown, MVP, Gold-Glove winning, World Series champion! I believe that with the reasonable contract he signed, the Phillies were absolutely right to keep Rollins in red pinstripes for what should be the duration of his career. Yes, he might be losing a step in the field, and he doesn’t quite have the young legs of his “Young James” days, but Rollins was the best “non-Reyes” available at shortstop this offseason, and the fact that he is a career-Phillie is something we should appreciate and take pride in.
Rollins is on the verge of becoming an All-Time leader in many important categories, and has meant so much to this Phillies franchise success that I believe we will one day see the #11 retired and displayed in Citizens Bank Park alongside some of the greats… #1 -Richie Ashburn, #14 -Jim Bunning, #20 -Mike Schmidt, #32 -Steve Carlton, and #36 -Robin Roberts.
- Rollins is currently 5th on the Phillies all-time games played list, trailing Mike Schmidt by 768 games, Richie Ashburn by 158, Larry Bowa by 103, and Tony Taylor by only 33.
- He trails only Schmidt, Ashburn, and Ed Delahanty for hits and runs Scored. Rollins needs just 349 hits to pass Delahanty, 352 hits to pass Ashburn, and 369 to make him the Phillies All-Time Hits leader.
- He trails only Schmidt and Ashburn in At Bats and Plate Appearances, another nod to his length of time here, and ability to stay on the field.
With the Phillies set to kickoff their 2012 Grapefruit League schedule against the Yankees, I started thinking about the Yankees’ Jeter and his place in their record books. If he isn’t already the Yankees team-leader in a given category, he’s arguably within striking-distance and could get there by the time his career is over. Jeter is first in Yankees history in hits, games played, at-bats, plate appearances, and stolen bases. He ranks 3rd in runs scored trailing Babe Ruth by 190, and Lou Gehrig by 71. In 2011, Derek Jeter recorded his 3,000th hit, remarkably the first Yankee to ever reach the milestone.
*Occasionally stats amaze me:
Just for kicks, I went to Baseball Reference to glance at his stats and was reminded that Jeter is the all-time leader in MLB Postseason Games Played, with 152. In those games, he’s had 702 Plate Appearances, numbers that pretty much account for a full extra season over his career.
Just how good has Jeter been in those 152 pressure-packed playoff games?
- .307 batting average
- 20 HRs
- 59 RBI
- 107 Runs
- 18 Steals
- 191 Hits
- 64 walks (3 intentional)
- 12 Sacrifices (8 Bunts, 4 Flies)
- .374 On Base Percentage
- .465 Slugging Percentage
- .839 On Base plus Slugging.
Not a bad “season” from Jeter if you ask me…
Sometimes I think we, as fans, get a little bit too Phillies-focused, and fail to look around the league and tip our cap to the excellence that exists once in a while. For instance, Jimmy Rollins is definitely a Wall of Fame player, but a Hall of Fame player he is not, and I’m okay with that. Again, I’m not trying to compare Rollins to Jeter the player. I just want to give a little recognition to one of our towns best-ever to play the game, and how much he’s meant to history of the Phillies; all while realizing that one of the best-ever is playing his last few seasons of a game we all love – and that the “extra season” he’s played and the accomplishments he’s achieved in his career are nothing short of amazing.