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Rollins wreaking havoc on rankings

Jimmy Rollins is climbing to the top of several key Phillies all-time lists, as well as many MLB rankings. And despite trade rumors, he will likely continue building on those in Philadelphia in 2015.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Despite the occasional trade rumor, Jimmy Rollins will likely still be in Philadelphia in 2015, so there will be some time yet to appreciate his accomplishments. Nevertheless, it's good to take stock of what kind of career we are witnessing while he's still here.

We've already covered how Rollins is on pace to rack up some impressive numbers for a shortstop: On Track to Make History. Based on reported batting splits, and estimated splits for older players, Rollins will hit more doubles and more extra base hits while playing shortstop than any player in the 140+ years of MLB. Also:
...while Derek Jeter is out of reach in Total Bases (4798, 1158 ahead), Rollins could easily surpass #2 Ripken (4064, 424 ahead of Rollins).

Likewise in runs scored, Jeter is way out in front, but Rollins needs only 81 runs to pass turn-of-the-century Boston Beaneater Herman Long for second most all-time.

So before 2016 is out, with the stated caveats about health and playing time, Rollins could be either #1 or #2 all-time in doubles, extra base hits, total bases, and runs scored.
But again most of that likely won't happen until 2016. Today's post is about the milestones Rollins reached this year -- a list that is highlighted by, but certainly not limited to, becoming the Phillies' all-time hit king.

Phillies Hits record

On Saturday, June 14th, Rollins got the 2,235th of his career, and so passed Mike Schmidt to set a new Phillies franchise record.

Rollins has added 72 hits to the old record so far, and while that doesn't seem like much it's already far more than either Schmidt or Richie Ashburn added when they set the new mark.

It's worth revisiting the three Phillies greats Rollins passed, and how they came to be bunched close together at the top:

#4) Ed Delahanty (1888-1901), 2,213 -- The Hall of Fame outfielder surpassed teammate Sam Thompson for the most hits in the Phillies' short history in 1898, Thompson's last year with the the team. By the time Delahanty finished his Phillies career after the 1901 season (when he jumped to the year-old Washington Senators), he had 2,213 hits, well ahead of Thompson's 1,478. He would remain the Phillies' all-time hits leader for another 58 years.

#3) Richie Ashburn (1948-1959), 2,217 -- Whitey had the worst year of his career in 1959, including a career low 150 hits. Ashburn finally passed Delahanty on September 22nd, with only 4 games left in the season. That turned out to be the end of his Phillies career, and he was traded to the Cubs in January 1960. This time the record would stand for 30 years.

#2) Mike Schmidt (1972-1989), 2,234 -- Schmidt got off to a good start in 1989, and with two doubles on April 20th he not only raised his OPS to .912, but those hits also gave him 2,218 for his career to pass Ashburn and set a new team record. However for over a month from that point through May 28th, he slumped terribly, hitting only .163/.282/.239, to drop his season's OPS to .668. On May 29th, after the Phillies had just made the trip down the coast from San Francisco to start a series in San Diego, Schmidt announced his retirement at Jack Murphy Stadium (video). Schmidt's hits record stood for 25 years before being overtaken by Rollins.

Other Phillies rankings

The hit record was the most celebrated Phillies milestone he reached this year, but there were several others as well:

  • All-time leader in multi-hit games
    Richie Ashburn had 657 multi-hit games in his long and illustrious Phillies career, and Rollins surpassed that total with #658 on September 1st. Records are incomplete before 1914 (so they're not available through BB-Ref), but it's safe to say that Delahanty likely also had about the same number.
  • All-time leader in At Bats
    On June 20th, just six days after passing Mike Schmidt in hits, Rollins also surpassed Schmidt's team record in At Bats, with the 8,353rd of his career.
  • 3rd in Singles
    He passed Larry Bowa (1,498) to move up to 3rd in singles in Phils' history and finished the year with exactly 1,500, behind only Ed Delahanty (1,527), and Richie Ashburn (1,811).
  • 200th Home Run
    Rollins hit his 200th home run in dramatic fashion on Opening Day, with a grand slam that put the Phillies up 6-0 against the Rangers. For a team that faced so much doubt and so many question marks coming out of Spring Training, particularly about their offense, it was an exciting way to start the season. It made him the 10th Phillie in history to hit 200 home runs. Later, on May 20th, Rollins hit is 205th to pass Dick Allen for 9th place in Phillies history.
  • 700 Walks
    He became the 6th Phillie in history to walk 700 times and finished the season with 753.
  • 3,000 times on base
    Rollins became the 3rd Phillie to get on base 3,000 times, joining Ashburn (3,202), and Schmidt (3,820).
  • 2,000 games with Phils
    He also joined Schmidt as the only players to appear in 2,000 games as Phillies.
  • 7th in RBIs
    With his last RBI of the season, Rollins passed Sherry Magee (886) to move into sole possession of 7th place in Phillies history. The only players to drive in more runs were Sam Thompson (957), Chuck Klein (983), Ryan Howard (1058), Del Ennis (1124), Ed Delahanty (1286), and Schmidt (1595). By the way, while Rollins was out in September, Utley reached 886 RBIs to tie Magee and come with one of Rollins, so chances are Rollins will fall back to 8th sometime in 2015.
  • 4th most Ks
    With the good comes the bad, and Rollins passed Greg Luzinski for 4th most K's in team history with 1,145, behind only Burrell (1,273), Howard (1,591), and Schmidt (1,883).
  • 2nd all time in stolen bases, and #1 in the modern era
    He passed Delahanty (438) for 2nd most all-time and is now at 453. The only Phillie with more was Billy Hamilton, who stole 508 in the six years from 1890 to 1895.
  • All-time leader in times caught stealing
    His last time caught stealing this year was the 95th of his career, and with that he passed Larry Bowa for most in Phils history (CS stats have only been tracked regularly since 1951). It's worth noting that Rollins has been one of most successful base stealers in MLB:
    - at 82.7%, Rollins has the 27th highest career SB% (out of 771 players with 80+ attempts)
    - Of the 147 players with 300+ attempts since 1951, Rollins has the
    9th highest SB%
    - Of the 44 players with 500+ attempts, Rollins is 4th all-time in SB%
    - By the way, Rollins holds the single-season MLB record for highest stolen base percentage ever in a season with 50+ steal attempts, when he stole 47 of 50 in 2008. That's out of 484 seasons of 50+ attempts since 1951.
(Finally, not related to 2014, two random facts about Rollins' MVP year in 2007:
- his 20 triples that year were a modern Phillies record, surpassing Juan Samuel's 19 in 1984, and were the most by a Phil in 110 years, since Nap Lajoie had 23 in 1897.
- his 88 extra base hits were the 4th highest total in Phillies history, and the most ever by any Phillie not named Chuck Klein.)
Looking ahead to 2015

- Needs seven home runs to tie Greg Luzinski for 7th most in Phillies history (223)
- With 32 more walks, he'll tie Pat Burrell for 5th most all-time (785)
- 27 singles will tie Delahanty for 2nd most (1527)
- With 42 runs scored, he will tie Delahanty for 2nd most (1367)
- 105 times on base will tie Ashburn for 2nd most (3202)
- And with 551 more PAs, he will tie Schmidt for most in franchise history (10,062)

By the time the year (and most likely his Phillies career) is over, he will rank..

#1 all-time in At Bats, PAs, Hits, Doubles, and Caught Stealing
#2 in Games, Singles, Total Bases, Extra Base Hits, Stolen Bases, Runs, and Times on Base

MLB Rankings

In addition to moving far up the Phillies' all-time lists, Rollins is now also making some serious headway into overall MLB rankings, particularly for shortstops.

Opening Day Starts

In 2014 he made his 14th straight opening-day start for the Phillies. That broke the NL record that he shared with Dave Concepcion of the great 1970s Reds teams for most consecutive seasons starting at shortstop for the same franchise. It also matched Cal Ripken's major league record.

Larry Bowa started 12 openers in a row at shortstop for the Phils. Mike Schmidt holds the Phillies record for consecutive opening-day starts, with 16 (1974-89).

200th Home Run

Reaching the 200 plateau in home runs put Rollins in some very exclusive company:

  • He became only the 19th player in history with at least 400 doubles, 100 triples, and 200 home runs. The only other shortstop on the list is Robin Yount, who spent only half his career at the position.
  • One of only 10 players (and the only shortstop) with 200 home runs, 400 stolen bases, and 2,000 hits (Rollins was the 9th; later in the year, before retiring, Bobby Abreu stole his 400th base to become the 10th)
  • And only the 3rd player ever with 200 home runs, 100 triples, and 400 stolen bases
Power and Speed

Rollins became only the 8th player in history with a combination of 800+ extra base hits, and 450+ stolen bases, joining this select group:

2,000 games at Shortstop

He became the 19th player in history to play 2,000 games at short, and finished the season in 16th place all-tiime.

  • This was Rollins' 13th season with 600+ PAs. Only two SS in history have had more: Jeter (17), Ripken (14).
  • Rollins finished with 17 home runs and 28 stolen bases despite missing most of September. How common are those numbers for a 35 year old? It was only the 6th season in history by a player 35+ to include at least 15 HR and 25 SB.
  • He reached 50 RBIs for the 12th time in his career. Only 4 shortstops have had more since 1900: Jeter (18), Ripken (14), Appling and Wagner (13).
  • He also had his 13th season of 20 or more steals. Only 2 shortstops since 1900 have had more: Ozzie Smith (16), and Bert Campaneris (14).
  • He had his 11th season of 10 HRs and 20 stolen bases. No other shortstop has had more than 8 (Jeter). And only 3 players in history have had more, at any position, all with 12: Bobby Abreu, Barry Bonds, and Rickey Henderson.
  • Of all players who have played at least 2/3 of their games at Shortstop, Rollins...
    - passed Miguel Tejada for 5th most doubles
    - passed Joe Cronin for 6th most total bases
    - passed Cronin for 4th most extra base hits.
    (Note that these are rankings of total career stats of players who were predominantly shortstops, while the opening paragraphs and the article linked there pertain only to stats produced while a player is in the game at Short.)
Looking ahead to 2015
  • If he starts at short on opening day (for the Phils), it will his 15th straight for the team, and will break the tie with Cal Ripken Jr to set a new record for most consecutive opening-day starts at shortstop for a single organization.
  • By the end of the year, he will likely move up to 8th all-time in games played at shortstop.

MLB rankings he already had before 2014

There are also a number of rankings that he already held coming into 2014 and which he would have had a good shot at extending if not for his September hamstring injury:
  • 10 seasons of 30+ stolen bases, 3rd most among shortstops, behind only Ozzie Smith and Bert Campaneris (11 each).
  • Most seasons in history of 50+ extra base hits and 30+ stolen bases (9), tied with Bobby Bonds and Honus Wagner.
  • 4 seasons of 30+ steals and 20+ home runs, most of any shortstop, and 3rd most in MLB history, behind only Barry and Bobby Bonds.
  • 10 seasons of 30+ steals and 200+ total bases, most of any shortstop, and 7th most in MLB history.
(see table in addendum below)

Rollins and Others

The old guys of the core were healthy for the most part, and 3 of the 4 were still among the best in the game at their respective positions in 2014:

  • Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Carlos Ruiz combined for 2366 PAs, their 4th highest total ever, and the most since 2009.
  • There have been 26 teams that have had two 35 year olds with 3 or more rWAR, but this year the Phillies became the first team in history to have 3 position players aged 35 and over with at 3 rWAR (Rollins 3.9, Utley 3.6, Ruiz 3.2).
  • In addition, while 4 teams in history had three 35 year olds with 2.5+ WAR (all since 1999), the Phillies became the first team to have four position players age 35+ with at least 2.5 rWAR each (same three plus Byrd, 2.6).

However they weren't just an unusually good group of old timers, they also gave the Phillies one of the best up the middle infields in the game this year, by either WAR measure:

  • by fWAR: Only four of the 30 teams got at least 3 fWAR from both their shortstop and second baseman this year:

    Angels: Aybar 4.1, Kendrick 4.6
    Phillies: Rollins 3.6, Utley 4.1
    Twins: Santana 3.2, Dozier 4.6
    Dodgers: Ramirez 3.4, Gordon 3.1

    And the Phillies were the only team in MLB to get at least 3 fWAR from their SS, 2B, and Catcher:

    Phillies: Rollins 3.6, Utley 4.1, Ruiz 3.2

  • by rWAR: Only two of the 30 teams got at least 3 rWAR from both their SS and 2B:

    Angels: Aybar 3.9, Kendrick 5.4
    Phillies: Rollins 3.9, Utley 3.6

    And, as with fWAR, only the Phillies got at least 3 rWAR from their SS, 2B, and Catcher:

    Phillies: Rollins 3.9, Utley 3.6, Ruiz 3.2

So, if the Phillies can get a solid prospect for him, and he approves the deal, great. Otherwise, we can look forward to another season with a unique player manning shortstop for the Phils in 2015.



Table of the number of seasons Rollins has reached certain milestones, or combinations of milestones, and where he ranks among Phillies, MLB shortstops, all NL, and all MLB.

For example, Rollins has had 10 seasons with 30 stolen bases and 200 total bases. That's the most times that's been done by a shortstop, and it's the third highest number of such seasons in the history of the NL.