Jimmy Rollins and the Hall of Fame
Jimmy Rollins is the best shortstop in Phillies history. | Photo: Steve Sengal
Jimmy Rollins was an outstanding shortstop and a vital piece to the Phillies' successes surrounding the 2008 season, but does he deserve a plaque in Cooperstown? 

Rollins has a legitimate case, but it's far from definitive. He was an All-Star in his rookie season in 2001 and spent 15 of his 17 seasons in Philadelphia. He was a three-time All-Star and a wiz with the glove, securing four Gold Gloves and the fourth-highest fielding percentage by a shortstop in baseball history. He also excelled with the bat, compiling 2,306 hits to surpass legend Mike Schmidt for the most in Phillies franchise history. Toss in a Most Valuable Player Award in 2007 and the fact he's the lone player this millennium to swipe 400 bases to go along with 200 homers, and it's clear he has a resume worthy of consideration. 

The 2022 Hall of Fame ballot marks Rollins' debut in front of voters. Early indicators show he'll surpass the five-percent threshold to have his name appear again on the 2023 ballot. It's doubtful many baseball people viewed Rollins as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, so additional time on the ballot for further consideration by the electorate is a good thing. 

The downside for Rollins is a career .263 batting average and a 95 OPS+, both figures that fall significantly short of Hall of Fame standards. Secondly, his 3.4 WAR-per-162 games is 1.5 WAR less than the 4.9 WAR-per-162 average of the 23 other shortstops already enshrined. Rollins also falls far below the other 23 shortstops in career WAR, 7-year-WAR, and JAWS. From 2001-14 though, Rollins posted the highest WAR of any shortstop in baseball. Expanding the timeframe to 1995-2009, Rollins only trails Derek Jeter in WAR at shortstop. 

It's plausible the 2007-11 run doesn't happen for the Phillies without Rollins. His durability atop the lineup and leadership helped carry those clubs to five straight division titles, two National League pennants, and a World Series title. 

His top four statistical similars, per Baseball-Reference, are Barry Larkin (Hall of Famer), Alan Trammell (Hall of Famer), Lou Whitaker (should be a Hall of Famer), and Roberto Alomar (Hall of Famer).

Rollins is one of only three shortstops on the current ballot; Alex Rodriguez began his career at shortstop but moved to third base mid-career and is forever entangled in PED's while Omar Vizquel is facing multiple sexual misconduct allegations. There are no other shortstops in the immediate future joining the ballot worthy of consideration. 

Rollins has an interesting case. He played a pivotal role for a World Series winner, was the best at his position for over a decade, and he was a fan favorite in Philadelphia. Recognizing baseball is more than the statistics that contribute to WAR and JAWS, he eventually should have a plaque in Cooperstown. 

I don't have a vote as I'm not a member of the BBWAA, but if I did have a ballot, it would have a check next to Rollins.

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