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What will Jimmy Rollins' legacy be as a Phillie?

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As Jimmy Rollins pulled into second base with a double during Tuesday night’s Phillies game against the Reds, he achieved something only three other players in the history of the Phillies franchise had ever done: eclipse 2,000 hits in a Phillies uniform. Only Ed Delahanty (2,207), Richie Ashburn (2,217), and Mike Schmidt (2,234) had reached the mark before Rollins. That’s pretty impressive when you think about it, considering the Philadelphia Phillies have been a franchise since 1883. Rollins currently needs 235 hits to eclipse Schmidt as the Phillies all-time hit leader. Barring an injury or trade, this could likely happen sometime within the next two seasons.
 
Yes, there isn’t much Rollins hasn’t done in a major league uniform in his 12 full seasons with the Phillies. He has surpassed his mentor Larry Bowa as the best shortstop in club history and now ranks among the team’s all-time leaders in several offensive categories.  He’s been an MVP, All-Star, Gold Glove Winner, Silver Slugger, World Champion, and at times a prophet. He’s had record-setting hitting streaks, led the leagueWhy does Jimmy Rollins always seem to be in Charlie Manuel’s crosshairs?  Photo: www.reclinergm.com in steals, runs scored, triples (four times), and holds the all-time major league record for most at bats in a single season (716 in 2007).

As solid of a career as Rollins has had on the field, however, he’s also known for the declarations he makes off the field as well. Going into the 2007 season, Rollins declared the Phillies “The Team to Beat,” despite the Phillies never having reached the playoffs during Rollins’ tenure with the club. While people thought Rollins made a rather bold statement, nobody was laughing when the Phillies overtook the Mets in one of baseball’s biggest collapses ever to win their first of five consecutive NL East crowns.

Rollins truly has had some great moments in Philadelphia, but not everything he’s done over the last decade and change has been positive. He constantly fails to generate consistent walks for a leadoff hitter, and he is to pop ups as Schmidt was to strikeouts. In 2008, Rollins took a shot at the Phillies fans, declaring them “frontrunners,” on The Best Damn Sports Show, which ignited some controversy in the city. However, Phillies fans and Rollins kissed and made up several months later, when the Phillies won their second World Series title over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Rollins’ tardiness and lack of hustle have also been well documented over the years. He was once benched by Charlie Manuel in New York for arriving late for the final game of a crucial series against the Mets. Last week, Rollins was removed in the middle of Thursday’s afternoon game by Manuel because of his lack of hustle. Moreover, ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported last week that the Phillies have grown frustrated with Rollins, and the team was aggressively shopping him as the trade deadline approached last July.

But through it all, Rollins is still here, and the Phillies are a lot better off having had him play in Phillies pinstripes than not. His swagger, charisma, and talent was an integral part of one of the greatest eras in the history of the franchise.

What do YOU think his legacy will be?

 

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Article photo: www.reclinergm.com