When the 2022 Hall of Fame ballot comes out next fall, Philadelphia Phillies fans are going to see a familiar name: Jimmy Rollins.
To be eligible for the ballot, a player must have played in at least 10 seasons and retired for five. Rollins’ last professional game came in June of 2016 as a member of the Chicago White Sox, and considering his impressive career, he will certainly be on the ballot.
But the question remains: Can Rollins make the Hall of Fame?
Rollins’ Hall of Fame case starts with his counting stats. He finished with 2,455 hits and is the all-time Phillies leader in hits with the team at 2,306. Rollins is one of three players in MLB history to finish his career with at least 200 home runs, 100 triples and 400 stolen bases.
He also had some historic stretches throughout his career that add to his case. Rollins had a 38-game hitting streak that remains the longest in baseball over the last 30 seasons. And during his 2007 season, in which he won the National League MVP, Rollins became just the second player in MLB history to have a season with 30 home runs, 20 doubles, 20 triples and 20 stolen bases. The other such season came from Willie Mays in 1957.
Rollins was also three-time All-Star and a World Series champion. He won the Silver Slugger Award once and, as one of the most talented fielders of his generation, won the Gold Glove Award four times.
While Rollins has some impressive career counting stats and achievements, none of them make him a clear-cut Hall of Fame player. Sabermetrics have slowly increased in importance in making a case for fringe players like Rollins, but they do not really help his case.
He ranks 30th all-time among MLB shortstops in JAWS, a sabermetric from Jay Jaffe at Baseball-Reference used to average a player’s career bWAR with their WAR7, which is their WAR during their 7-year peak. He is well below the average Hall of Fame shortstop in all three categories, and behind Troy Tulowitzki, another shortstop from his era, in WAR7 and JAWS.
One thing that adds to Rollins’ case is his defense. He ranked second among all shortstops in DRS during a 10-year span from 2003-2012, just behind Tulowitzki. He formed one of the greatest middle infield duos of all time with second baseman Chase Utley, who likely has the best Hall of Fame case of anyone from the 2008 World Series team.
But all of this is still unlikely to be enough to put Rollins in the Hall of Fame. He was an excellent player, but, per FanGraphs, was only worth greater than 5.0 fWAR once, which is a threshold that usually lies outside of the top-20 position players in baseball in a single season.
Rollins was undoubtedly one of the players in Phillies history, and a key piece both on and off the field during the greatest run in franchise history. And while he has impressive accomplishments from throughout his career, he will have difficulty getting into the Hall of Fame.
The Phillies recently softened their number retirement policy when they retired No. 15 in honor of Dick Allen earlier this year. And while Rollins is unlikely to make the Hall of Fame, he has solidified his legacy as an all-time Phillies great and his No. 11 might never again be worn again by a Phillie.
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