Going strictly by the law of averages, Jimmy Rollins will become the all-time leader in hits for the Philadelphia Phillies today.
Rollins has become no better than a .250-type hitter over the last four seasons, so he should get one hit in the four chances against the visiting Chicago Cubs. Right now, he’s tied with Mike Schmidt with 2,234. Phillies fans will go wild and probably give him a prolonged standing ovation, but it probably deserves no more than polite applause.
There are plenty of good reasons for that. Rollins has been no more than a compiler, a good but unspectacular player who achieved an impressive record because he avoided serious injury for so long. Call Jimmy Rollins the Cal Ripken Jr. of the Philadelphia Phillies with apologies to Cal Ripken Jr.
Rollins preserved his longevity through questionable methods. Often suspended by former manager Charlie Manuel for failing to run out ground balls, Rollins called it no big deal because he wanted to preserve his body for the rigors of a 162-game season.
Philadelphia fans never appreciated what they saw more as lackadaisical attitude. In Spring Training, current manager Ryne Sandberg sat Rollins for two straight games because Rollins said “who cares” when someone questioned the Phillies inability to hit. Afterward, Sandberg was effusive in his praise of backup shortstop Freddy Galvis for his energy, leadership and positive influence on the clubhouse. When asked if Rollins had those same qualities, Sandberg offered a “no comment.”
Another reason is that he never gave the fans the respect the fans gave him. Rollins has called the Phillies fans “front-runners” and never fully appreciated the 277 straight sellouts the fans gave him and his teammates.
So, when the record falls, maybe the appropriate reaction would be polite applause—a golf clap on the weekend of the U.S. Open.