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Top 25 Phillies of All-Time: No. 7 - Jimmy Rollins

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor

While Chase Utley and Ryan Howard may have at times topped him in terms of individual dominance, former Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins was the consistently great catalyst behind perhaps the greatest run in franchise history. Rollins won a league MVP, made four All-Star teams, was one of the best fielding shortstops of his generation and when you add in his 470 career stolen bases, "J-Roll" may be the most likely player synonymous with the Phillies from his era to garner serious consideration for the Baseball Hall of Fame some day.

Those accolades, among other things, are why Rollins came in at No. 7 on Sports Talk Philly's countdown of the greatest Phillies of all-time.


 Career accomplishments

  • 2007 National League MVP
  • Three-time National League All-Star
  • Four-time Gold Glove Award Winner
  • Phillies franchise hits king
  • Over 2,400 hits
  • Over 400 stolen bases 
  • 2008 World Series champion

Top moment with team

Though Rollins' 2007 National League MVP winning season featured plenty of special moments, his career defining moment came in the 2009 NLCS. 

Facing Jonathan Broxton, who a year earlier had given up a series-changing home run to Matt Stairs in Game 4 of the NLCS, Rollins laced a double into right-center field in the bottom of the ninth, plating Eric Bruntlett and Carlos Ruiz to win Game 4 for the Phillies. 

As Stairs' home run had done a season before, Rollins' double essentially put a nail in the Dodgers' coffin, as the Phillies would go on to defeat the Dodgers 10-4 in Game 5 to clinch their second consecutive National League pennant. 


Reason for ranking

Rollins had 12 seasons with the Phillies where he posted a WAR of two or higher, posting a WAR of over five twice during those 12 seasons. Rollins also ranks within the top 10 in team history in hits, doubles, triples, home runs and RBIs, which certainly helped to raise his score.

Overall, Rollins scored a 44 on the scale, which is explained further at the bottom of the post, which based simply off of score, would have slotted him 10th on the countdown. As is also explained below, historical columnist Matt Albertson and myself, the creators of the formula, reserved the right to move players up within reason on the countdown. We felt that it was fair to move Rollins up as high as seven, over Bobby Abreu, Chuck Klein and Richie Ashburn, even if his score was lower. There was a long period of discussion about whether to slot Rollins at No. 7 or No. 8, either above or below Ashburn.

It should be noted, we tried to let the formula speak for itself for a majority of the countdown. Even with a formula that took nine months to create, there are flaws, however. Rollins and Ryan Howard were moved up on the countdown as we saw appropriate.


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 Formula Explanation

The player rankings formula combines both traditional and advanced statistics/metrics and assigns a point total to each category. These statistics only reflect the player's Phillies career.

First, single season WAR is a primary factor in our rankings. According to WAR's calculations, 2+ WAR is considered a starter, 5+ WAR is All-Star caliber, and 8+ WAR is MVP level.

We totaled the number of seasons that a player performed at a 2+ WAR, 5+ WAR, and 8+ WAR level and assigned a set point value for each category, (+1), (+3), and (+5) respectively.

For example, in 1980, Mike Schmidt complied an 8.8 WAR. This was counted as a 2+ WAR season, a 5+ WAR season, and an 8+ WAR season. So, for 1980 alone, Mike Schmidt earned (9) points for WAR.

Second, we assigned a point value for amount of years spent with the Phillies. In order to be considered for this list, a player must have been with the organization for a minimum of (5) years.

Next, we assigned point values for being among the top 25 in particular statistical categories, such as batting average, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, home runs, and OPS for hitters, and ERA, Wins, and WPA (wins probability added) for pitchers.

Finally, all statistical categories were totaled up using our point based system and ranked accordingly, with historical columnist Matt Albertson and managing editor Tim Kelly of Sports Talk Philly reserving the right to move players up the list, within reason. An explanation of why a player is ranked in a certain spot will be provided, as will an overall score breakdown.

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