Scott Rolen fits into a category with Billy Wagner and at one time Jayson Werth as former players who the city has hated unrelentlessly despite their success. Rolen had an opportunity to be the second-greatest third baseman in Phillies history had his relationship with the organization not gone sour.
A second-round pick in 1993, Rolen joined the Phillies as a 21-year-old with a decent glove and solid bat. He won Rookie of the Year in ’92 after hitting .283 with 35 doubles, 21 home runs, and 92 RBI, despite committing 24 errors at third.
In 1998, Rolen finished one extra-base hit short of a franchise live-ball era record with 80 extra-base hits, a record passed by Jimmy Rollins and Bobby Abreu down the road.
Being a Phillie in the early 2000s was no easy task with the team rarely in contention and multiple managers coming through. Rolen was displeased with the organization’s commitment to win, and the All-Star demanded a trade despite the prospects of a new ballpark.
Philadelphia would flip Rolen along with Doug Nickle and cash to the St. Louis Cardinals for Placido Polanco, Bud Smith and Mike Timlin during the 2002 season. As a member of the Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Reds, Rolen would cement a borderline Hall of Fame career thanks to eight Gold Gloves and 351 home runs.
Perhaps Rhys Hoskins surpasses Rolen as the greatest Phillie to wear number 17, but for now, it’s Rolen’s title as he makes a push towards Cooperstown. He received 10.2% of the vote in his first year on the ballot, and could have staying power with his tremendous defensive metrics.