This past week the outspoken leader of the Phillies during the glory years returned back to Philadelphia in Dodger Blue. The darndest thing happened, he actually got a standing ovation from those terrible Philadelphia fans. But thats neither here nor there, the point of this article is his legacy.
Reading the newspaper and listening to sports talk radio the question came up is Jimmy Rollins Hall of Fame bound? When I first heard it I thought it was a joke. There was no doubt in my mind that Jimmy was as good of defensive shortstop as there was in the league during his time, but I wasnt sure he stacked up offensively. So I went to the stats..
When comparing Jimmy’s stats its important to remember that Jimmy was the lead off hitter for in essence his entire career. And for most of that career here in Philly, he got some undeserved criticism for the type of lead off hitter he was. He wasnt a put the ball on the ground and beat it out. He didnt always work the count. I think that played in my mind as a negative prior to looking at his stats.
There are 21 shortstops in the Hall of Fame as I type this. Below is where he would stack up today in comparison
Hits- he would be 9th
Home Runs- 4th
RBI- 12th (but should pass 3 or 4 more guys)
Stolen Bases- 6th
Batting Avg- 18th
Slugging Pct- 8th
He was a 4 time gold glove winner and won it 3 years in a row from 2007-2009.
He also won the NL MVP in 2007. In that season he became the first player ever to record 200 hits, 20 triples, 30 home runs, and 30 triples in one season.
Needless to say, I was very surprised at how well he compares offensively to those in the Hall of Fame. I never considered Jimmy Rollins one of the top players in the game during the glory years for the Phillies. They had other fire power which perhaps diminished what he accomplished.
Baseball gives us some the great debates, especially with the numbers you could throw out. I certainly could see the argument from both sides on Jimmy and the Hall of Fame. On my ballot, Jimmy is a Hall of Famer.
My favorite Jimmy Rollins moment: