He was the leader, the table-setter, the lead-off hitter. Now, he became the lead-off hitter in the rebuilding of the Phillies. Officially, the greatest era in Phillies history came to an end with the trade of J-Roll to the Dodgers.
A generation of Phillies fans grew up with Rollins. The longest tenured double play combination of Rollins and Chase Utley has ended, a major-league record 1,187 games. They will never be forgotten.
Larry Bowa played in the first game at Veterans Stadium and helped build a World Championship club. J-Roll did the same at Citizens Bank Park.
Alumni Weekend will take place in August 1-2. While the return of many Alumni will create excitement, none will match the buzz when Rollins returns to Citizens Bank Park for the first time, August 4-5-6. Tickets to individual games will go on sale starting February 19. There will be a rush then for Rollins’ return. TV ratings will soar when the Phillies play in Los Angeles on July 6-7-8-9, Rollins’ first series against his old club.
Someday, he’ll return and be inducted into the Wall of Fame. Citizens Bank Park will be jumping that night. Whether he gets a plaque in Cooperstown remains to be seen. But, he’s making a case for one.
Rollins leaves having the most hits and doubles in franchise history. Pretty heavy stuff. He’s as dominant in as many of the Phillies career hitting leaders as Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, the greatest player in Phillies history. Is J-Roll #2? Just think, both Schmidt and Rollins were drafted in the second round.
As a young prospect in the Phillies minor league system, Lee Elia, an instructor then, told Rollins he needs to learn to play a “little man’s game.” Not surprising, Rollins responded, “I’m not a little man.”
5-foot-8 may not qualify as a “big” man. But, Rollins put up big numbers, won big awards and contributed big in the community. And, he came out with the statement that “we are the team to beat”, a big, bold comment. But, he was right.
Jimmy, a big thanks for all the excitement you brought us.