One of the usual stops on the Winter Caravan the Philadelphia Phillies take every offseason is Coopersburg, a sleepy little town about 10 miles north of the Philadelphia suburb of Quakertown.
Current Phillies’ announcer and former great third baseman Mike Schmidt must have gotten Coopersburg confused with Cooperstown earlier this week when he said Jimmy Rollins belongs there. Rollins belongs in Coopersburg, not the Baseball Hall of Fame located in Cooperstown, because no career .268 slap hitter belongs within 200 miles of the HOF.
Since Coopersburg is 212.30 miles south of Cooperstown, Rollins should be welcome there.
Schmidt says the basis for his claim is that if Barry Larkin is in, so should Rollins. Saying that if Player A is in, Player B should also be admitted is a faulty argument. That assumes that all of the other players deserve to be as well, and we all know that’s not the case.
In the case of Larkin, though, Schmidt is just plain wrong. Larkin made 12 All-Star teams and won nine Silver Slugger Awards. Rollins, on the other hand, made only three All-Star teams and just one Silver Slugger Award. The discrepancy between those two very important honors is wide enough to separate a Hall of Famer from just a very good player. No doubt Rollins is a very good player, but it’s called the Hall of Fame for a reason. They do not call it “The Hall for Very Good Players.” The word fame itself denotes greatness.
There is also the Elephant in the Room with Rollins in the steroid era. Rollins is 5-foot-8, 180-pounds and hit 30 homers in his best season of 2007; there are not too many 5-foot-8, 180-pound guys who have ever hit 30 home runs. Since 2010 when more stringent drug testing methods were introduced, Rollins’ homers per season have dropped to eight, 16, 23, six and six. In those same seasons, Rollins hit .243, .268, .250, .252 and .246.
If those sound like Hall of Fame numbers, it just has become too easy to get into the Hall of Fame. There is a place for very good players like Jimmy Rollins.
It’s just not Cooperstown.