Former Phillies manager roasts Hall of Fame voters over shortstop's results

After falling short in voting for the third straight year, Jimmy Rollins' journey to the Hall of Fame isn't going to be easy.
Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

When the 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame voting results were announced, a lot of the focus was on legendary Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, and rightly so. However, as one former player and manager noted, it might be another former Phillies superstar whose absence was even more glaring.

In his third year on the ballot, shortstop Jimmy Rollins garnered 14.8 percent of the votes, more than enough to stay on the ballot for another year but nowhere close to the 75 percent needed for induction.

Former manager Larry Bowa took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to make it known that the writers who are voting are making a mistake with the fellow shortstop:

Bowa, who spent the majority of his 16-year career at shortstop, knows a thing or two about what it takes to consistently play the position at a high level. The 78-year-old also had the opportunity to manage Rollins from 2001 to 2004 and see firsthand his work ethic and on-field performance.

Jimmy Rollins' stats show an interesting Hall of Fame case

The switch-hitting middle infielder spent 17 years in the major leagues, 15 of those with the Phillies. He finished his career hitting .264 with a .324 on-base percentage and a .418 slugging percentage. During his career, he recorded 1,421 runs, 2,455 hits, 231 home runs, 936 RBI, 470 stolen bases, 813 walks and 1,264 strikeouts.

For the majority of the time, he was a workhorse, logging 10,240 plate appearances across 2,275 games over those 17 seasons.

In 50 playoff games, he slashed .246/.308/.364 with 27 runs, 48 hits, three home runs and 15 RBI.

According to FanGraphs, he finished with a career WAR of 49.6, while Baseball Reference has him at a 47.6 WAR.

He had good control at the plate too. During his 17 seasons, he had a 12.3 strikeout percentage, compared to the league average of 18.1 percent.

When on base, Rollins' speed was on full display. He had the ability to turn any hit into extra bases — as evidenced, in part, by his 115 triples. When he held up at first or second, he was a constant threat to run. Among all MLB players, Rollins' 81.7 stolen base percentage ranks 44th.

Beyond offense, though, Rollins shined on defense. His 98.3 fielding percentage ranks fourth-best in the history of the position, and his 19,513 2/3 innings at shortstop rank seventh-most. To add to that, the flashy infielder's 6,139 assists are 20th-most, 718 behind Bowa, who ranks ninth on the list.

While there is some thought that Utley's Hall of Fame case is hurt because of longevity concerns, those same worries shouldn't apply to Rollins.

Across his 15 years with Philadelphia, spanning 2000 through 2014, Rollins was consistently one of the best shortstops in the game. During that stretch, his 48.9 WAR was only behind Álex Rodríguez (86.6) and Derek Jeter (53.7), according to FanGraphs, and he played the second-most games at 2,090.

His 216 home runs were also third at the position, and his 453 swiped bags were only two behind the speedy José Reyes during that time frame.

During his time with the Phillies, he was a run machine, crossing the plate 1,325 times, again only behind Rodríguez and Jeter. And his baserunning was as consistent as ever, with him taking the lead by a large margin (84.6 to 66.6) for baserunning runs above average, according to FanGraphs.

For the 2024 ballot, his Bill James Hall of Fame monitor mark of 121 was ranked ninth, as noted on Baseball Reference. The number is used to predict how likely it is someone will be inducted, with a score over 100 meaning the player is likely to hear their name called.

There are some metrics working against him, though.

Among shortstops, Rollins has a JAWS of 40.1, good for 34th across the position. According to Baseball Reference, the average JAWS for 23 Hall of Fame shortstops is 55.5. And his WAR is likely hurting him. His 47.6 WAR ranks 26th, with the average for inductees being 67.7. All of that is in addition to his slash line being on the lower end.

Each year on the ballot, Rollins has gained a little momentum with votes, going from 9.4 percent in 2022 to 12.9 percent in 2023 to 14.8 percent in 2024. Between his power, his speed, his defense and his consistency, Bowa's assertion that Rollins belongs in the Hall of Fame isn't unrealistic.

Phillies fans already know Rollins was the heart and soul of the Phillies during their five straight playoff appearances from 2007 to 2011, playing an integral part in the team's success.

And Rollins himself feels he deserves to be in.

In 2022, Phillies Nation's Tim Kelly relayed comments Rollins made to NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark when asked how many players from the 2008 World Series team deserve to be in the Hall: "Probably two. One, being Chase Utley. And the other being the guy talking."

He went on to talk about what it would mean to him to be inducted: "Since a kid, I’ve known about it [the Hall of Fame]. I remember watching ‘Soul of the Game’ on HBO talking about the Negro Leagues. A lot of those guys didn’t get a chance to play Major League Baseball ... That’s the reason why I’ve always strived to be great, because there were many that came before me that didn’t have that opportunity. So getting in would also mean that I got in for them also.”

The 2007 National League MVP, three-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner and one-time Silver Slugger will have to wait another year to see if more voters will value all of his contributions to the sport and support his induction.