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Jimmy Rollins

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James Calvin "Jimmy" Rollins (born November 27, 1978 in Oakland, California), nicknamed "J-Roll," is an All-Star and MVP shortstop for the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball.

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 has stolen at least 20 bases every season since 2001, with a career high of 46 in his first year, and reaching 41 in 2005 and 2007. This emulates Rollins' childhood baseball hero, Rickey Henderson.[1]

Family and backgroundEdit

Rollins comes from an athletic family, as his brother, Antwon, formerly played with minor league affiliates of the Texas Rangers and the Montreal Expos.[2] His sister, Shay Rollins, is a starter on the University of San Francisco's women's basketball team,[3] and Rollins is the cousin of former MLB player Tony Tarasco.[4]

Rollins also attended the same high school as Detroit Tigers pitcher Dontrelle Willis.[5]

Rollins is a resident of Woolwich Township, New Jersey.[6]

Professional careerEdit

Minor leaguesEdit

After being drafted by the Phillies in the second round of the 1996 draft,[4] Rollins was assigned to the rookie-league Martinsville Phillies. He led the team in walks, batting only .238, but stealing 20 bases.[7] However, he still earned a promotion to low-A Piedmont for the 1997 season. He had a better year at only 18 years old, leading the team in games played, at-bats, runs, hits, triples, stolen bases, and walks all in the same year.[8] He batted .270, stole 46 bases, and had 560 at-bats, more than 100 higher than second-place Dave Francia.[8]

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, though he was the youngest player on the team by two years.[9] 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,[10] and led to a late-season promotion to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he played four games.[11] Leading Scranton in games played, doubles, and triples the next season, Rollins helped lead the team to the playoffs, where they defeated the Buffalo Bisons in the first round, but lost to Indianapolis in the finals.[12] For his performance, Rollins was rewarded with a September call-up to the Phillies, where he batted .321 in 14 games, stealing three bases and batting in five runs.[4]

Major leaguesEdit

2001: Rookie yearEdit

Coming into his rookie season of 2001, there was a lot of hype surrounding Rollins and his blistering speed. Many Phillies fans were excited at the thought of having an up-and-coming leadoff man of his potential. He did not disappoint, delivering a league-leading 46 stolen bases that season. Rollins was also the Phillies' only representative at the 2001 All-Star game. He finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting, and was rated the 5th best rookie in the Major Leagues, third-best in the NL, by Baseball America.[13]

File:Baseball jimmy rollins 2004.jpg

2002Edit

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). 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 Phillie 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.

2003Edit

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.[14] 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.[15]

2004Edit

Accomplishments in Rollins' 2004 season included his third "quadruple-double," 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.[16] He also hit .289 with 14 home runs,[17] 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 streakEdit

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.

2006Edit

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, 9 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 MVPEdit

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."[18]
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").[19]

Rollins refused to back down from his prediction even as the Phillies began the season with a slow start, and he backed it up in the opening months. His first half numbers included a .286 batting average, with 53 RBIs and 16 home runs. Many felt he was snubbed from the 2007 All-Star Game since his statistics appeared better in some categories than the NL's starter, Jose Reyes.

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 August 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.[20]

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 fourth player to collect at least 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs, and 20 stolen bases in one 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.[21] 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.[22] Rollins is only the second switch-hitter (along with Chipper Jones) to win the MVP since pitcher Vida Blue in 1971. 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.[23]

2008: Defending the division titleEdit

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."[24] 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." [25] [26]

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.[27] Though June was a weaker month for Rollins' hitting, he still hit three home runs, knocked in ten runs, and hit two triples.[27] His offense became a spark in the Phillies' lineup in July as well, as he hit three triples before the All-Star break alone.[27]

Statistics and achievementsEdit

Rollins was named the 2007 National League Most Valuable Player and has been named to the National League All-Star team three times (2001, 2002, 2005). Rollins owns the longest hitting streak in Philadelphia Phillies history at 38 games, achieved from August 2005 to April 2006. His streak is the longest in the majors since 1987, when Paul Molitor hit safely in 39 consecutive games, and the longest in the National League since Pete Rose's 44-game streak in 1978. It is currently the eighth longest streak in Major League Baseball history. Rollins donated the batting helmet he wore during the streak to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown following a request from the Hall of Fame to document the accomplishment.[28] He also became the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to collect at least 200 hits, 15 triples, 25 homers and 25 stolen bases in one season, and holds the record for most at-bats in a season with 716.

CommunityEdit

BaseBOWL Charity TournamentEdit

Rollins hosts an annual charity bowling tournament that features teammates, celebrities and musicians. The money raised is used to help benefit the Arthritis Foundation.[29] It is held at Lucky Strike Lanes in Philadelphia.

Media and endorsementsEdit

On April 10, 2007, Rollins appeared alongside teammate Ryan Howard on The Late Show with David Letterman. He is also a representative athlete for Nike Baseball and has his own signature glove, the "Nike Pro Gold Flash FG."

Music careerEdit

Rollins owns his own music label called Bay Sluggas, Inc.; the label's first signed group is "The League." Rollins said that two singles were expected to be released before the CD is out in January of 2008, though these singles have failed to surface.[30] Jimmy has also recorded his own original hip-hop track, entitled "Wish List," which was included on Major League Baseball's charity CD, "Oh Say, Can You Sing?"[31]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Jimmy Rollins Official Website - Philadelphia Phillies - Bio
  2. Antwon Rollins Statistics. Baseball Cube. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  3. Shay Rollins. University of San Francisco. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Jimmy Rollins Statistics. Baseball Reference. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  5. Encinal High School. Baseball Cube. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  6. Shryock, Bob. "Local took his shot at fame", Gloucester County Times, December 13, 2007. Accessed January 11, 2008. "A recent column about famous Gloucester County residents, sparked by Woolwich Township transplant Jimmy Rollins being named National League MVP, encouraged readers to submit their own nominations to the unofficial list of luminaries."
  7. 1996 Martinsville Phillies Statistics. Baseball Reference. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  8. 8.0 8.1 1997 Piedmont Boll Weevils Statistics. Baseball Reference. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  9. 1998 Clearwater Phillies Statistics. Baseball Reference. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  10. 1999 Reading Phillies Statistics. Baseball Reference. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  11. Jimmy Rollins Statistics (Minor Leagues). Baseball Reference. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  12. 2000 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons Statistics. Baseball Reference. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  13. Jimmy Rollins Official Website - Philadelphia Phillies - Highlights
  14. Individual Player Stats. Major League Baseball. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  15. Biography and Career Highlights: 2003. Philadelphia Phillies. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  16. Biography and Career Highlights: 2004. Philadelphia Phillies. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  17. Yahoo! Sports career statistics. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  18. Rollins, Phillies confident about chances in '07
  19. Jimmy Rollins boosts Phillies - USATODAY.com
  20. Philadelphia Phillies' Jimmy Rollins Named Bank of America Presents the National League Player of the Week | All American Patriots
  21. BBWAA: 2007 NL Most Valuable Player
  22. ESPN - Rollins, who spurred Phils into playoffs, wins MVP - MLB
  23. Hagen, Paul (2008-02-14). A classic contradiction for Jimmy Rollins. Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  24. Rubin, Adam (2008-02-17). With Johan Santana, Carlos Beltran tells others to look out in NL East. New York Daily News. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  25. Jimmy Rollins responds - NJ.com: Ledger on the Mets
  26. Phightin' Phils Phorum: Rollins Responds!
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Jimmy Rollins. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved on 2008-07-12.
  28. Horn, Bradford, "Documenting the Game's History Requires the Generosity and Support of Players and Teams", Memories & Dreams, (April-May 2007, Volume 29, Number 2), page 9.
  29. Jimmy Rollins Official Website - Philadelphia Phillies - News
  30. Jimmy Rollins Official Website - Philadelphia Phillies - News
  31. Good Sports Recordings. Good Sports Recordings. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.

External linksEdit

Awards
Preceded by:
Rafael Furcal
Topps Rookie All-Star Shortstop
2001
Succeeded by:
Ramon Santiago
Preceded by:
Luis Castillo
National League Stolen Base Champion
2001
(with Juan Pierre)
Succeeded by:
Luis Castillo
Preceded by:
Ryan Howard
National League Most Valuable Player
2007
Succeeded by:
incumbent

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