Once Jimmy Rollins became the Phillies All-Time Hit Leader, I thought he had reached the status of Phillies greats, and he would be the one who finished his career in Philadelphia. That is not the case, as today he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Rollins is the face of the Phillies run that began in 2007 & ended after the 2011 season. His 15-year career spanned longer than that, but it is that stretch of 5 consecutive division titles, 2 NL Pennants, & 1 World Series that can be considered the greatest run in that franchises long & stories history. J-Roll was enigmatic, knew how to light up a room, and delivered in a way that invoked style, as well as substance.
Rollins is a three-time All-Star shortstop who won the National League MVP in 2007. That year, he angered Mets fans when he stated in Spring Training, that the power in the NL East had shifted from NY to Philadelphia. It has to be stated, he backed that statement up that year.
Rollins is the franchise's modern day all-time leader in at-bats, hits, doubles and stolen bases. He ranks 2nd behind Mike Schmidt in games played, runs, total bases, triples, singles and extra-base hits.
I like him. Always have. Considered him a friend that I met in 2002 in Japan. We were both there for the MLB vs. Japan All-Star Series. There, my favorite Jimmy Rollins story. The whole team was flying commercial, and while waiting at the airport, a bunch of us were hungry. Rollins said he saw a KFC and 6 of us followed him like the Pied Piper. There, a Japanese women who worked there, tried to explain to Jimmy that they didn’t have chicken, but rather sushi & rice. He tried to tell this woman that the “C” in “KFC” was for chicken! He had us in stitches. Since that week, I’ve always really enjoyed Jimmy Rollins.
Jimmy Rollins #11 will most certainly be retired by the Phillies. I still believe that the championship run ended in 2011 in Game 5 of the NLDS in their 1-0 loss to St. Louis. Charlie Manuel was let go in the years that followed. Now Rollins, signifies an even more definitive end of a special time for the Phillies.
Rollins could do well in LA. He won’t have to bat in the top of the lineup, and he can provide a veteran presence in a very volatile Dodgers’ clubhouse. Many Phillies’ fans would have rather J-Roll retire as a Phillie, but the Phillies need to finally move on. Fans are certainly ready for that.