Phillies Franchise History: Greatest Player to Wear Each Number

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 09: Former Philadelphia Phillies greats, Jim Bunning, Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt were among many on hand to honor former manager Charlie Manuel who was to be inducted to the Phillies Wall of Fame during a ceremony before the start of a game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on August 9, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 09: Former Philadelphia Phillies greats, Jim Bunning, Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt were among many on hand to honor former manager Charlie Manuel who was to be inducted to the Phillies Wall of Fame during a ceremony before the start of a game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on August 9, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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18 Jul 1998: Infielder Scott Rolen #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies in action during a game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. The Mets defeated the Phillies 7-0. Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw /Allsport
18 Jul 1998: Infielder Scott Rolen #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies in action during a game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. The Mets defeated the Phillies 7-0. Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw /Allsport /

Scott Rolen. 17. team. 6. . .

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.

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