Phillies History: Looking Back on Phillies Rookies of the Year

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Jun 23, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Philadelphia Phillies designated hitter Ryan Howard (6) at bat during the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Phillies win 7-3 over the Twins. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 23, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Philadelphia Phillies designated hitter Ryan Howard (6) at bat during the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Phillies win 7-3 over the Twins. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports /
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1997 Rookie of the Year Scott Rolen

More than 30 years after Dick Allen won Rookie of the Year, another Phillies third baseman, Scott Rolen, took home that same award. Rolen, who later became an infamous figure in Philadelphia, couldn’t have started his career in Philly much better.

In Rolen’s first full major-league season in 1997, he did not disappoint. The right-handed hitting third baseman hit for a .283/.377/.469 to go along with his 21 home runs and 92 RBI. He produced 4.2 Fangraphs wins above replacement, leading all Phillies hitters by a large margin.

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Rolen was the unanimous winner of the Rookie of the Year award. He beat out other future All-Stars like Atlanta’s Andruw Jones and Vladimir Guerrero.

Despite being one of the team’s best players over the next several seasons, Rolen quickly fell out of favor with Phillies fans. Before the 2001 season, Rolen grew tired of losing in Philadelphia and wanted a clause in his contract that guaranteed the club would be among the highest payrolls in baseball. He and manager Larry Bowa butted heads consistently, with one teammate reportedly calling Rolen a “cancer” in the clubhouse just before a 2002 trade to the Cardinals.

After joining St. Louis, Rolen continued to thrive. In 2004, he was worth 9.0 fWAR as he finished fourth in MVP voting. He finished that season with a .314/.409/.598 line and 34 home runs as he helped the Cardinals to the National League pennant.

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