If and when Scott Rolen reaches the Hall, how will you feel about it?
Eric: I will feel that he is deserving. Putting any team allegiances aside, I think Rolen always played hard and played the game the right way. While I wish that he spent a longer portion of his prime in Philadelphia, I had fun rooting against him when he was in St. Louis. Now that he has been retired for a while, I look back at his career and see how his numbers compare with others who he played against, and can see that he belongs in Cooperstown with some of the other great third basemen.
Kevin: Disappointed. And I’m fully prepared for it to happen this year. Rolen had some high points during his career, but he feels like a “Hall of Very Good” case, even before factoring in my personal feelings about him. And while I can never be truly objective about Scott Rolen, neither are the writers who seem to be voting him in. They bring their own biases and opinions to the table — ones that I believe are wrong in this case — but they have a vote and I don’t, so that’s that. More so than the thought of Rolen being elected, I think what annoys me the most is that some Phillies fans might actually celebrate it or even dare to go to his induction. Anyone doing so can turn in their fan card.
What is Rolen’s Phillies legacy? Does he deserve Wall of Fame induction?
Kevin: His legacy SHOULD be wearing a Phillies cap on his plaque in Cooperstown. He played more games with the Phillies than the Cardinals — more hits, homers, RBI, etc. And he collected his only individual accolade during his Rookie of the Year season with the Phils in 1997. Of course, Rolen will go in with a Cardinals hat, but my point stands.
At some point down the road, I can see him getting in the Wall of Fame, but that might not happen if fan vote has a say. He probably deserves it, honestly. But if the organization never recognizes him for anything, all Phillies fans should be fine with it. Acknowledging the Phillies and their fans in some way during his acceptance speech would go a long way, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Otherwise, this might be the ultimate test of whether or not “time heals all wounds."
Eric: I don’t know if Rolen’s legacy will ever fully repair in Philadelphia, but I came across a Jayson Stark ESPN article from 2002 that explains the situation. In hindsight, after reading Rolen’s remarks, many Phillies fans would agree with him today in that ownership was not necessarily dedicated to building a perennial contender until after Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004.
One quote that stuck out about Rolen ending negotiations with the Phillies:
"“... a 26-year-old, three-time Gold Glove third baseman who wasn't ready to commit essentially the rest of his career to a team he feels hasn't shown enough commitment in return to make him want to stay.” "- Jayson Stark
I think that Phillies fans can relate to that. Ownership showed commitment when they brought Jim Thome in. After that, we know how the franchise began to see success.
This time, ownership went out and spent and have proven they are committed to winning and building a perennially contending franchise. At this point, I don’t think Rolen cares if the Phillies honor him at all or put him on their Wall of Fame, and there are plenty of players from the 2008-2011 teams that could be put there first. But if the Phillies decide to enshrine Rolen on their Wall of Fame, I think it would be deserved.