Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Good-Bye Jimmy Rollins

Every team has those players who define the team. Players who came up through the ranks and became a part of a team's mythology. For me, a Phillies fan, I'm talking about Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts and Del Ennis in the 50's, Richie Allen in the 60's, Mike Schmidt and Larry Bowa in the 70's and 80's, Scott Rolen in the 90's. And in the 2000's we have Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, and Ryan Howard. But baseball is a tough game. Players, no matter how good they are, get old. Their skills erode. Their skills and their team's needs don't match. And so Phillies phans say good buy to Jimmy Rollins.

I own 198 Jimmy Rollins cards and I'd like to share them all with you but I'm going to limit this post to my favorite card in each year he was a Phillie. I had to make some hard choices.

1998 Bowman #181
My first Rollins card. Jimmy was the Phillies #2 draft pick in 1996. In 1998 he played for the Phillies single A team in Clearwater Florida.

1999 Just #228
Jimmy played most of 1999 with Double A Reading, making the jump to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for the last 4 games of the season.

2000 Fleer Tradition Update #93
Jimmy had a pretty good year at Triple A in 2000, hitting .274 with 12 HR, 28 doubles and 24 stolen bases. Good enough for a September call-up where he hit .321 in 53 at bats.

2001 Upper Deck #43
The Phillies had traded away their every day shortstop, Desi Relaford, to the Padres in 2000, so in spring training, the job was Jimmy's to win and he did. He led the league with 656 at bats, 12 triples and 46 stolen bases. He was an All-Star and the third runner up for Rookie of the Year, getting beat out for the award by some guy named Albert Pujols. The Phillies finished 86-76, in second place in the NL East.

2002 Fleer Hot Prospects #64
Jimmy once again led the league in at-bats (637) and triples (10). He also made the All-Star team again. The Phillies slipped a bit, finishing 80-81 and third place.

2003 Topps 205 #69
Jimmy had a bit of an off-season in 2003 although he hit for a higher average, .263. The Phillies finished 86-76 but still in 3rd place.

2004 Upper Deck Vintage #145
Jimmy hit .289, the third highest season average of his career and once again led the league in triples with 12. The Phillies once again finished in 2nd place with an 86-76 record.

2005 Bowman Heritage Mini #76
Jimmy hit .290 in 2005 and made the All-Star team. The Phillies finished 88-74, in 2nd place under new manager Charlie Manual. They were only 2 games out of 1st at the end of the season.

2006 Topps Allen & Ginter #204
Jimmy hit 25 home runs and lead the league in plate appearances with 758. Another good year for the Phillies finishing with an 85 and 77 record and again in second place. But in 2006, the Mets ran away with the division and the Phillies ended up 12 games back.

2007 Sweet Spot Sweet Swatch Memorabilia
Jimmy's MVP season. He hit for a .296 average, lead the league in plate appearances (778), at bats (716), runs (139), and triples (20). He was an All-Star and won the first of his four Gold Gloves. The Phillies finished 1st in the NL East with an 89-73 record but lost 3 straight to the Rockies in the NLDS.

2008 Upper Deck Timeline #159
Jimmy spent about a month on the DL in 2008, for the first time in his career, so his numbers were a bit down. He did manage to steal 47 bases, a career high, and win his second Gold Glove. The Phillies put it all together this year, going 92-72 and taking the division by 3 games over the Mets. The Phillies knocked off the Brewers (3-1) in the NLDS and Dodgers (his new team) 4-1 in the NLCS. They met the Devil Rays in the World Series, taking it 4 games to 1, bringing the World Series Championship back to Philadelphia for the first time since 1980.

2009 Upper Deck Goudey #281
Jimmy was back leading the league in plate appearances and at bats again, just like you want your lead off guy to do. The Phillies had another great season, finishing 93-69, 6 games ahead of the Marlins. They cruised past Rockies (3-1) in the NLDS and the Dodgers (4-1) in the NLDS but the Yankees would deny them a second-in-row World Series, 4-2.

2010 Topps Manufactured Hat Logo Patch
Jimmy spend 74 days on the DL in 2010 but he also hit is 150th home run during the season. The Phillies finished 97-65, 6 games ahead of the Braves and everyone expected them to go to their third World Series in as many years. But it wasn't to be as the Giants knocked them out of the playoffs (4-2) in the NLCS.

2011 Topps Heritage #284
Jimmy came back from his injury-riddled 2010 season with a decent year. The Phillies won their 5th division title in a row with a 102-60 season. But after such a great season, they lost to the Cardinals 3-2 in the NLDS.

2012 Topps Archives 1956 Relics
Jimmy's stats rebounded a bit this year, the last year of his current contract. At the end of the season he signed a 3-year contract worth $33MM with the Phillies. The Phillies glory days appeared to be over as they finished the season 81-81, in 3rd place, 17 games behind the first place Nationals.

2013 Bowman Blue Sapphire Chrome Series
Jimmy had a pretty average year offensively in 2013 while staying uninjured and playing good defense. The Phillies continued to deteriorate, however, finishing 73-89, their first sub-.500 season since 2002.

2014 Topps Team Sets #5
Jimmy's offensive performance slipped some more in 2014 but the Phillies slipped even further, with another 73-89 season under new manager Ryne Sandberg. They dropped to last place, a full 23 games behind the Nats.

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