By John Russo
Since we completely forgot all about this segment, we though it would be nice to continue it with the Phillies playing Cincinnati and another notable Phormer Phillie.
Scott Rolen will forever be remembered as the player ahead of his time, the guy who potentially could have been greater than Mike Schmidt but saw his career shortened to injuries. Rolen had it all when he busted onto the scene in Philadelphia in 1996. He was a Gold Glover, a Silver Slugger, and was the best player the Phillies had from 1997-2002.
In 1997, Rolen won the NL Rookie of the Year award while hitting .283 with 21 homers and 92 RBIs. 1998 was the best season he ever had as a Phillies, batting .290 with 31 homers and 110 RBIs.
After four more years of being the lone crown jewel on the Phillies with Bobby Abreu, Rolen got tired of the losing and the disrespect from the front office, mainly Dallas Green. Rolen refused to sign in his final year and demanded a trade. He was traded to the Cardinals along with Doug Nickel (who?) for Placido Polanco, Mike Timlin, and Bud Smith. He would then go on to play in the All-Star game four more times with St. Louis, win three more Gold Gloves, win a World Series in 2006 over Detroit.
2006 wound up being his last healthy season until this year. From 2007-2009, the bad shoulder and lower back problems Rolen developed with his aggressive defensive playing style on the stiff turf of Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia would prevent him from playing anything close to a full season.
In 2008, the Cards sent Rolen to Toronto for Troy Glaus in a trade of beaten-up third basemen. He would then be traded to the Reds mid-way through the 2009 season where he had a resurgence this season. He’s one of the reasons the Reds are in first place with his .292 average, 17 homers, and 57 RBIs. His slugging percentage (.552) is .052 points higher than his career average and his the highest it’s been since his career year in 2004. His OPS (.911) is also .041 points higher and the best since ’04. He was selected to his sixth All-Star game as well.
Rolen would go on to win four Gold Gloves and an All-Star trip with the Phillies. He batted .282 with 150 HR and 559 RBIs with his first club. The 35-year old just recently hit his career 300th home run with the Reds. If it weren’t for the injuries, 500 could have been a possibility.
Rolen’s resurgence this year has been a blessing to him and a treat to many of the fans in Philadelphia who still love and miss Rolen.