When Jimmy Rollins was drafted in the second round of the 1996 amateur draft, many scouts thought he was too small and his swing was not good enough to lift him to the big league level. Critics everywhere bashed Rollins for his lack of hustle and high rates of pop-ups on the first pitch of his at-bats. Yet, as he has for the past fifteen years, Jimmy Rollins proved his critics wrong by reaching the 2,335 hit mark, surpassing Mike Schmidt with the most hits in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies franchise.
Rollins achieved the feat with a line drive single off of Edwin Jackson in the bottom of the fifth inning in today’s Phillies/Cubs game. The game was paused as Rollins was first greeted by Mike Schmidt himself and then a mob of his current Phillies’ teammates. Phillies’ fans in Citizens Bank Park gave their shortstop a standing ovation as public address announcer Dan Baker said with a bang: “The Phillies all-time hits leader, number eleven, Jimmy Rollins.”
Although Rollins does have the city of Philadelphia behind him, throughout his career he has been under-appreciated as a player by all of baseball and by Phillies’ fans themselves even though he has been their shortstop for fifteen seasons. The amounted frustration from Phillies’ fans when Rollins would pop-up a first pitch fastball, or when he simply did not run out a ground ball hit to the second baseman, would rise above the loads of positive actions Rollins has done on the field.
That line drive single, one of 2,335 other Rollins’ hits, will be the slap in the face to all of those who have criticized and under-appreciated Rollins for what he has not done, rather than appreciating what he has done. After four Gold Gloves, 435 stolen bases, a Silver Slugger, a MVP award, and now with the most hits in the Philadelphia Phillies franchise, Jimmy Rollins silences those who said his swing was not good enough and that he would only make it with a position change. When you become the all-time hits leader in your franchise, and surpass Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt to achieve that feat, no critic or baseball scout can take that away from you. Hats off to you Jimmy, you deserve it.
Image Source: AP