Rollins with the Phillies
|Philadelphia Phillies – No. 11|
November 27, 1978 |
|Bats: Switch||Throws: Right|
|September 17, 2000 for the Philadelphia Phillies|
(through March 31, 2014)
|Runs batted in||836|
|Career highlights and awards|
James Calvin "Jimmy" Rollins (born November 27, 1978), nicknamed "J-Roll", is a Major League Baseball shortstop who plays for the Philadelphia Phillies. Rollins has been recognized as one of the National League's best shortstops since the early part of his career. He has been named an All-Star three times and was the 2007 NL MVP. During the 2007 season, he also won the Silver Slugger Award and joined a select group of players who have hit 30 home runs and stole 30 bases in a season. He holds the MLB and National League records for most at-bats in a season (Willie Wilson holds the American League record). Along with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard he has helped the Phillies become one of baseball's most successful teams in recent years, and also helped the club win the 2008 World Series.
Though Rollins has developed into a five-tool player during his career due to significant increases in his power hitting, he is perhaps best known for his baserunning skills. He stole at least 20 bases every season from 2001 to 2009, with a career high of 47 in 2008.
- 1 Family and background
- 2 Professional career
- 3 Player profile
- 4 Personal life
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Family and background
Rollins grew up in "the tough side of Alameda" (Alameda, California) as a member of an athletic family. His mother played competitive fastpitch softball, and credits the experience for helping him develop a cerebral approach to the game as well as a passion for the middle infield; he has been described as having "a near-photographic memory of games and at-bats and pitches". Rollins' brother, Antwon, played with minor league affiliates of the Texas Rangers and the Montreal Expos. His sister, Shay Rollins, was a starter on the University of San Francisco's women's basketball team, and he is the cousin of former Major League Baseball player Tony Tarasco. Despite the athletes in his family, his father encouraged Rollins to pursue music as well as baseball; Rollins played the trumpet while growing up, and participated in various MC Hammer and Mavis Staples music videos during his adolescent years.
Rollins attended Encinal High School in Alameda, from which he graduated in 1996. To his dismay, his parents refused to allow him continue playing football, instead forcing him to focus on baseball. Ultimately, he finished his high school baseball career as the holder of 10 school records, including highest batting average (.484), and most stolen bases (99). For his performance, USA Today named him a member of its All-USA High School Baseball Team, and Baseball America named him the top infielder in Northern California as well as a second-team All-American. He committed to play college baseball at Arizona State University on a scholarship, but after "effusive" praise from Phillies Bay Area scout Bob Poole in various reports, the Phillies drafted him in the second round of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft.
After being drafted by the Phillies in the second round of the 1996 draft, Rollins was assigned to the rookie-league Martinsville Phillies. He led the team in walks, but batted only .238, but stealing 20 bases. However, he still earned a promotion to low-A Piedmont for the 1997 season. The youngest player on the team at age 18, leading the team in games played, at-bats, runs, hits, triples, stolen bases, and walks all in the same year. He batted .270, stole 46 bases, and had 560 at-bats, more than 100 higher than second-place Dave Francia. For his performance, he was named a co-winner of the Paul Owens Award, given to the Phillies' top minor league player. At the conclusion of the season he played in the Florida Instructional League.
1998 brought Rollins to a higher level of competition at high-A Clearwater. While playing alongside future Phillies teammates Pat Burrell, Johnny Estrada, Adam Eaton, and Brandon Duckworth, Rollins batted .244 with 18 doubles and 23 stolen bases; once again, he was the youngest player on the team. Eaton, Burrell, and Rollins were all promoted to AA Reading together the next year, and Rollins led the team in games and at-bats, as well as hits. His 145 hits gave him an average of .273, and led to a late-season promotion to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he played four games. In 2000, he led Scranton in games played, doubles, and triples, and helped lead the team to the playoffs. For his performance, Rollins was rewarded with a September callup to the Phillies, where he batted .321 in 14 games, stealing three bases and batting in five runs. After the season, Baseball America named the Phillies' top organizational prospect. Also, he was a finalist for the United States national baseball team to participate in the 2000 Olympics, but did not survive the final cut.
2001: Rookie year
Rollins spent the entire 2001 season with the major league Phillies, and enjoyed success in his first full MLB season. He achieved several statistical milestones, including a "quadruple-double" (double digit doubles, triples, home runs, and stolen bases). Moreover, he led the National League in triples and stolen bases, becoming the first rookie to do so since 1951, as well as leading the NL in at bats. He was a member of the NL all-star team in the 2001 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the Phillies only representative. At the conclusion of the season, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum named him the co-winner of the Cool Papa Bell Award, given to the stolen bases leader, MLB managers voted him to the Topps Major League Rookie All-Star team, and Baseball America named him the fifth-best rookie in MLB.
In 2002, Rollins finished second among NL shortstops with a .980 fielding percentage, third in total chances (695), fourth in assists, (504) and fifth in putouts (226), while posting a .245 batting average. He led all NL shortstops in stolen bases and finished third in runs (82), fourth in hits (156) and walks (53) and fifth in doubles (33) and RBI (60). He was voted the starting shortstop for the NL All-Star team, and became the first shortstop in Major League history and first Philly to make the All-Star team in his first two Major League seasons. He was named Best Defensive Shortstop in the NL and third-best NL Baserunner by Baseball America. He also participated in the MLB vs Japan All-Star Series in November in Japan.
Rollins raised his batting average nearly twenty points from the year before in 2003, while hitting 42 doubles and stealing 20 bases. He tied his career high in errors with 14, while making 204 putouts with 463 assists. In June, he had a nine-game hitting streak, his best of the season, and in September of that year, he stole his 100th career base against the Atlanta Braves.
Accomplishments in Rollins' 2004 season included his third "quadruple–double" (four statistical categories—home runs, stolen bases, doubles, and triples—in double figures in a single season), making him one of three players to accomplish this feat during the season, along with Tampa Bay Devil Rays OF Carl Crawford and Detroit Tigers SS Carlos Guillén; his three ten-game hitting streaks throughout the summer and fall months; and his first career grand slam, hit in the final game of the season against Florida. He also hit .289 with 14 home runs, including 2 inside-the-park home runs and the first one of his career. 43 doubles, 12 triples, and 119 runs scored rounded off his fourth full season in the majors.
2005: Beat the streak
The biggest highlight of Rollins' 2005 season came in August and September. Rollins hit safely in 36 straight games up to and including the last game of the season. This broke a franchise record for longest hitting streak established in 1899 by Phillies legend Ed Delahanty. Rollins hit .379 during the streak, bringing his average for the season to .290. He also hit 38 doubles, 11 triples and 12 home runs, along with stealing 41 bases, to complete his fourth career "quadruple–double." He was also named to the National League All-Star Team.
Though he extended his hitting streak to 38 games in the first two games of 2006, Rollins struggled in the first half of the season (.259 AVG, .744 OPS, 7 HR, 40 K) while hitting leadoff, but went on a tear after the All-Star break (he was not invited to the All-Star Game) with a .319 AVG, .965 OPS, 18 HR, and 15 K's. He set the Phillies' franchise record for home runs in a season by a shortstop with 25, a record he would later break in 2007. Rollins and Chase Utley (who hit 32 home runs) became the first pair of middle-infielders in National League history to hit at least 25 home runs each in the same season.
2007: "The team to beat" and MVP
In January, Rollins stated:
"The Mets had a chance to win the World Series last year. Last year is over. I think we are the team to beat in the NL East, finally. But, that's only on paper."
It became an instant sports media sensation, especially given that the New York Mets had won the division in 2006 with relative ease. The claim was widely reported, often without the second part of the quote ("only on paper").
Rollins and teammate Ryan Howard appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman early in the 2007 season, and he refused to back down from his prediction even as the Phillies began the season with a slow start. His first half numbers included a .286 batting average, with 53 RBIs and 16 home runs.
On June 28, Rollins had a four-hit game against the Cincinnati Reds, including a game-tying triple. The triple was Rollins' 10th, which gave him his fifth career "quadruple–double". Two months later, Rollins was named the National League Player of the Week for August 27 to September 2, 2007. He recorded seven consecutive multi-hit games from August 26 to 31 as part of an 18-for-32 stretch, and homered in back-to-back games on August 28 and 29 during the Phillies' four-game sweep of the Mets.
On September 25 against the Atlanta Braves, Rollins hit the home run that completed his 30–30 season. On the last day of the 2007 season, Rollins became the seventh player to collect at least 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs, in one season (and only the fourth player to also have 20 stolen bases in that same year) when he hit his 20th triple of the year in a 6–1 win over the Washington Nationals that clinched the National League East division championship for the Phillies. The club would advance to the playoffs for the first time since their 1993 World Series loss; however, they had to play the Colorado Rockies, who ended the Phillies season in a three-game sweep in the NLDS.
Rollins completed his season by winning the National League Most Valuable Player award, beating out Matt Holliday of the Colorado Rockies and Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers. The 17-point voting difference between Rollins and Holliday for NL MVP was the closest since Atlanta Braves third baseman Terry Pendleton beat out Pittsburgh's Barry Bonds by 15 points in 1991. Rollins was the fifth switch-hitter (along with Pendleton, Ken Caminiti, Pete Rose and Chipper Jones) to win the MVP since pitcher Vida Blue in 1971. He also received the NLBM Oscar Charleston Legacy Award (NL MVP), and won the first of three consecutive Gold Glove Awards, becoming the first Phillies shortstop to win a Gold Glove since Larry Bowa in 1978. On November 26, Rollins made another bold prediction on his return to Philadelphia, stating that he expected the team to win 100 games and that they would go deeper into the playoffs next season.
2008: Defending the division title
Early on, Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran said that with the recent acquisition of Johan Santana, that he believed that the Mets would win the division. "So this year, to Jimmy Rollins, we are the team to beat." This was a knock-off of Rollins' prediction last year, and when he arrived in camp for the start of Spring Training, the reigning MVP responded:
"There isn’t a team in the National League that’s better than us. The pressure’s back on them if you ask me. They were on paper the best team in the division last year and they were supposed to win, and they didn’t. One, there are four other teams in our division who are going to make sure that doesn't happen, and two, has anyone ever heard of plagiarism? That was pretty good, especially coming from him. He's a quiet guy, so it was probably shocking when he said it. Not shocking in a bad way, like 'Wow, I can't believe he said that.' More like, 'Wow, he finally said something because he's a leader on that team and you definitely need to be a vocal leader."
Rollins opened the year strongly, batting .308 through 12 games. However, on April 20, Rollins was placed on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his career after spraining his left ankle while trying to avoid being picked off during a game with the Mets two weeks earlier. Rollins returned to the starting lineup May 9, 2008, against the San Francisco Giants. In the game, Rollins went 3-for-5 with a 2-run home run and an RBI double in the 7–4 Phillies win. He went on to finish the month of May hitting .298 with 12 RBI and six steals. Though June was a weaker month for Rollins' hitting, he still hit three home runs, knocked in ten runs, and hit two triples. His offense became a spark in the Phillies' lineup in July as well, as he hit three triples before the All-Star break alone.
The Phillies proved Rollins' 100-win prediction correct, winning 92 games in the regular season and 11 in the playoffs as they capped the 2008 year off with a National League East Division title as well as a World Series Championship. Rollins was honored with a Fielding Bible Award for defensive excellence as the top MLB shortstop during the year.
In 2009, Rollins started the season unlike his previous season, and at one point was hitting so poorly that he was benched four games in June by manager Charlie Manuel in an effort to turn around his season. Towards the end of June Rollins was batting just .195 with a .237 on-base percentage when hitting leadoff, and through July 1 he had the lowest on-base percentage (.250) in the major leagues. However, by late September, Rollins had raised his batting average to .250, hitting 21 home runs, 43 doubles, scoring 100 runs, and stealing 31 bases. In game 4 of the 2009 NLCS, Rollins hit the game-winning 2-run double against the Dodgers with one out left to win the game 5–4. However, Rollins' overall poor postseason performance continued, batting only .234 with an OBP of .306 and only 3 extra base hits in 64 at-bats. In the World Series, while his OBP went up to .345 his average dropped to .217.
Rollins strained his right calf just before the start of the game on April 12, 2010, and was scratched from the lineup. The Phillies still won the game 6–1. Rollins had an MRI on April 13, showing a strained calf. On April 14, Rollins was placed on the 15-day disabled list for the second time in his career.
On June 23, Rollins hit his first-ever walk-off home run, doing so against Kerry Wood of the Cleveland Indians. The two-run blast gave Philadelphia a 7–6 victory. It was Rollins' second game back from the DL.
Rollins was selected as the shortstop on the MLB Insiders Club Magazine All-Postseason Team.
On December 17, 2011, Rollins signed a three-year, $33 million deal with a vesting option for a fourth year, worth another $11 million. If the option does not vest, the option can become a team option for $8 million or a player option for $5 million.
In 2012, Rollins epitomized the Phillies' general "averageness" by posting a .250 batting average with 23 home runs and 68 RBIs. He hit poorly in the beginning of the season, and did not hit a home run until his 136th at bat of the season, the second-longest it had ever taken him to hit a home run at the beginning of a season. He missed three games from May 21–23 for the birth of his first daughter. On July 31, he hit his fourth career inside the park home run, which led active players. His hitting improved over the latter half of the season, and in September, he hit eight home runs. He missed the final three games of the season with a calf strain. During the season, he joined Craig Biggio, Barry Larkin, and Paul Molitor as the only players in MLB history to record 2000 hits, 350 stolen bases, and 150 home runs as a member of one team. It was his fourth career season during which he hit at least 20 home runs and stole 30 bases, which trailed only Bobby and Barry Bonds.
Prior to the season, Rollins played for Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic (WBC), and was the only player from Team USA to make the event's all-star team; it was his second WBC, and second placement on the all-star team. He was back to the Phillies in time for opening day, and made his 13th consecutive start on opening day. Overall, he tied for fifth in the NL in games (160), and led the team with 600 at-bats, 151 hits, 36 doubles, and 59 walks. He achieved several career milestones during the season, including his 800th RBI (April 22), his 433 double (breaking Ed Delahanty's record on May 15), and his 45th career leadoff home run (fourth most in MLB history; hit on July 20). Despite the achievements, overall, the season was a decline from previous years; his isolated power (ISO) was among the worst in the major leagues, he attempted to steal the fewest amount of bases in his career, and his defense "tanked" according to fielding metrics. He "struggled mightily", and ultimately posted a .252 batting average with six home runs and 39 RBIs. which "could be the beginning of his decline as an effective Major League hitter".
Rollins attracted media attention in the offseason when he supposedly expressed disinclination or lack of motivation after commenting "who cares" in regards to spring training; there was even a column from Buster Olney suggesting that there was a sentiment within the Phillies' organization that he should be traded (the rumors were dispelled by Rollins and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. as ridiculous). He opened the season by hitting a grand slam against the Texas Rangers, which was also his 200th career home run. After two games, Rollins left the team on paternity leave to be with his wife as the couple had their second child. On April 12, he hit a walk-off home run against the Miami Marlins.
In 2008, he was inducted into the Arizona Fall League (AFL) Hall of Fame. He is the fifth AFL alumnus to receive the American League or National League's Most Valuable Player Award. According to John Rust, who wrote The Best Phillies Team Ever, Rollins is among the top 25 players in Phillies history.
Rollins resides Woolwich Township, New Jersey, and is married to Johari Smith. They were married on January 23, 2010 in the Cayman Islands. On May 21, 2012, Johari gave birth to the couple's first daughter, Camryn Drew Rollins. An active philanthropist, Rollins and his wife Johari have participated in several charitable endeavors including the creation of The Johari & Jimmy Rollins Center for Animal Rehabilitation, which is located in Woolwich Township, New Jersey and provides several medical rehabilitation services for animals, and an annual BaseBOWL charity bowling tournament to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. Rollins is also active politically, and campaigned for Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential Election. His second daughter, Logan Aliya, was born in early April of 2014.
- List of Major League Baseball stolen base champions
- List of Major League Baseball triples champions
- List of Major League Baseball triples records
- List of Major League Baseball leaders in career stolen bases
- List of Major League Baseball players with 100 triples
- List of Major League Baseball players with 2,000 hits
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