Phillies all-time hit leader deserves to see #11 retired
Only five numbers have been retired in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies: Mike Schmidt, Richie Ashburn, Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts, and Jim Bunning. All five of those players are in the Hall of Fame, a baseline typically used by David Montgomery and Bill Giles when they ran the team.
But times have changed, and we are in a new regime of Phillies ownership and history. When Giles was running the show, the Phillies had very few good years, yet alone perennial All-Stars who changed the course of franchise history.
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Andy MacPhail has acknowledged a need to honor the championship run that saw five straight division titles and three-straight National League Championship series appearances.
There’s no better way to start that off than retiring Jimmy Rollins number 11 on the 10-year anniversary of the 2008 World Series. Imagine seeing Jimmy on the field with (hopefully) Schmidt, Carlton, and Bunning all on hand. Then you have Utley, Howard, Charlie, Victorino, Burrell, Moyer, Stairs, and Lidge all sporting a spot of gray.
Rollins is essentially retired after being released by the White Sox in June and working his way onto the TV set. While he could possibly seek an invitation to Spring Training from a team or two, his career is essentially over.
Rollins has a case for the Hall of Fame, but the Phillies can not pass-up the perfect opportunity to recognize Jimmy 10 years after he won his only ring.
Let’s forget about the Hall of Fame for a moment and just look at what Rollins has done as a Phillie.
The team previously retired the franchise’s all-time hitter twice with Ashburn and Schmidt, names Rollins passed with ease. With a franchise-high 2,306 hits, Rollins accomplished the feat in 500 fewer at-bats than Schmidt.
Apr 21, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Jackie Robinson number 42 alongside Philadelphia Phillies retired numbers on a grandstand wall before a game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
In the franchises’ 134 year history, Rollins is the all-time leader in hits, at-bats, doubles, and outs accounted for as a fielder. He sits within the top five in 10 additional all-time categories, and within the top 10 in three more.
Rollins also has an MVP, Silver Slugger, three All-Star games, and four Gold Gloves in his trophy case. Did I mention he has a ring after proclaiming Philadelphia “the team to beat” in the NL East?
Since 1980 only three Phillies have won the MVP award: Mike Schmidt (x3), Ryan Howard, and Rollins.
It only makes sense for Rollins to have his number next to the all-time legends in franchise history. The team left an entire wall blank on the Budweiser rooftop under the pennant flags so they can add more names. There’s even ample spacing in-between the numbers already retired. I think Rollins, Utley, and Howard (yes, in that double-play order) will look nice together on that wall someday.