While watching the Phillies close out their miserable 2013 season, fans are left to ponder many things. One of the most important is how will they improve next season, along with who will the team cut ties with during the upcoming offseason.
Yet, I have found myself wondering where the players over the last decade of Phillies baseball rank among the all-time greats. Specifically, I have thought about Jimmy Rollins.
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I am sure that right now is not really the best time to ask since he entered this weekend only hitting .252 with six homers and a horrendous 60 runs scored, but I cannot help myself.
Clearly, we have seen the best in Jimmy Rollins and it may not be wrong to look at the contract extension that the Phillies gave him as a bad investment. However, as Boyz 2 Men once stated, it is “so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.” Jimmy Rollins has been the team leader during what many consider the finest period in Phillies baseball (although I still consider the late ’70s/early ’80s to be the best).
He has won an MVP award, four-time Gold Glove winner, three-time All-Star and he has helped win a World Series for a franchise that only has two titles.
Defensively, Rollins has been ranked as one of the top shortstops in the game for most of his career, but it was always his offense that separated him from the rest of the pack. He is not your prototypical lead-off hitter. If Jimmy sees a pitch he likes at the beginning of an at bat, he is swinging … always. This has been a point for debate among Phillies fans, especially in recent years.
Still, Jimmy Rollins will most likely retire close to the Phillies all-time leader in hits, triples, extra-base hits, runs scored and total bases. He will be a Philly for life and will most likely have his jersey number retired once he leaves the game of baseball; yet, I still feel as if we never saw everything that Rollins had to offer. Since the World Series runs in 2008 and 2009, Rollins’ game has slipped dramatically. It seems as though age has caught up to J-Roll, which is sad to see.
Jimmy Rollins is undoubtedly a top-five Philly of all time in my opinion.
There is something to be said about being a leader of a team. The fact that he stepped his game up to a higher level in recent years when the team needed an extra push to bring home a title means a lot to me. I know many fans see Jimmy Rollins as an all-mouth hotshot who doesn’t like to run out ground balls, but I see him as a key reason the Phils have been as successful as they have since 2007.
Jimmy Rollins to me is the greatest shortstop in Phillies history. Sometimes it is hard to take a player for what he is worth in the present after having so much success in the past. The MVP season may have hurt Rollins in the eyes of some baseball fans because he never reached the same level of excellence again, but to me, it has been a joy to watch J-Roll for his entire career. I just hope he get can get that average back up near the .280 mark for 2014.