Philly’s longest tenured athlete has been the Phils’ catalyst for over a decade…
On Tuesday night Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins became the fourth player in franchise history to reach 2,000 hits.
It was a bright spot for the all-star shortstop who in recent weeks was criticized and ultimately benched by manager Charlie Manuel for not “hustling” or running out a play. If you choose label Rollins as a slacker do so at your own discretion.
J-Roll did his thing to help the Phils get the ring in 2008.
Three time All-Star, 2007 NL MVP, 2008 World Series Champion and baseball ambassador. Feel free to now add Jimmy Rollins to the 2,000 hit club. It doesn’t pack the punch of 3,000 hits or even 2,500 but when you’ve spent the bulk of your career as the table setter on a perennial loser squad it’s more than what many expected.
It wasn’t always sunny in Philadelphia but Rollins’ smile and hard play always kept Phillies fans hopeful.
For Jimmy Rollins’ first six seasons in Philadelphia he was the leadoff man on some Phillies teams that just weren’t that good. Between 2001 and 2006 the Phillies finished their season trailing the NL East winner by double digits. In was in the these years where Rollins was building a resume of what should be a Hall of Fame career. In 2003 Rollins became the first shortstop in MLB history to make the All-Star team in his first two seasons.
As the Oakland, Ca. native rounded into a major league hitter, Rollins made up for his shortcomings at the plate with his glove and legs. J-Roll has been one of the best defensive shortstops in the game and one of the games best base stealers. A career .271 hitter doesn’t classify Rollins as your traditional leadoff man but his speed on the base paths has kept him at the top of the Phillies order. In the closing months of the 2006 season Rollins began a 38-game hitting streak that would go into the following season.
The hitting streak would be a launching point for Rollins and the Phillies franchise.
In 2007 the fortunes of the wretched Phillies franchise began to change and Rollins took over as leader of the squad. The Phillies much-maligned farm system had produced a trio of young studs in second baseman Chase Utley, first baseman Ryan Howard and young ace Cole Hamels. Manager Charlie Manuel was a hitting guru who was able to mix small ball with the long ball.
For Rollins 2007 would be as dramatic a season as any. Rollins opened the season with an open declaration claiming the Phillies were the team to beat in the NL East. The defending division winners and bitter rivals the New York Mets were up for the challenge until an epic late season collapse gift wrapped the division for the Phightin’s.
Rollins was writing an epic chapter of his own as he would become the fourth player to tally 20 doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases. The Phillies would win 90 games for the first time in over a decade and make the playoffs where they were swept by the Colorado Rockies in three games. Rollins would beat out Matt Holiday and Prince Fielder to win the NL MVP award.
Prez shouts out J-Roll for his contributing to his campaign @ 3:28
In 2008 the Phillies would win their second world championship ending a generational drought of winning among a rabid fan base.
Rollins contribution to the city of Philadelphia extends well beyond the baseball diamond. J-Roll is a spokesperson for the MLB RBI program that seeks to rejuvenate baseball in the inner city. In Philadelphia the program has been a great success reaching children of all ages and cultures.
Jimmy Rollins was part of and MLB contingent that traveled to Uganda to introduce baseball to the African continent. This year Uganda became the first African team to play in the Little League World Series.
This year Rollins signed a 3-year $33 million deal that runs through 2014. Age and injuries handcuffed the Phillies offense this season and there is speculation that Rollins’ days in Philly could be numbered. Rollins is a 10/5 player could exercise his no trade clause. One option for Rollins could be a possible return to his hometown of Oakland to finish his career in an A’s uniform.
Say what you want about Manuel’s issues with Rollins not finishing plays but it was all good in 2008.
Twelve years, an MVP and a world championship. How can I knock the hustle?
Silk Wilkes is going to the NBA HOF (Yahoo).
Marc Lamont Hill talks about Bill Clinton’s speech (Huff Post).
Former Browns and Ravens owner Art Modell dies (In Flex We Trust).
I guess Jerry Jones is feeling good (Wild Thing Football).
The NBA’s top 100 players (CBS Sports).
Seven year-old contracts Bubonic plague (In Flex We Trust).
It’s gettin’ crazy in Arizona (NBC News).
Is Reggie Miller headed to an NBA front office (Hoops World).
Google or Bing (Bing).
Kid wins $1,000 and donates money (In Flex We Trust).
Keep rollin’ Jimmy!