James Calvin Rollins grew up in Oakland, Calif. and eventually moved to Pennsylvania, where his employer was based. In January 2013 the greatest shortstop in Philadelphia Phillies' history was informed that he will be representing the United States in the World Baseball Classic for the second time.
Fans quickly fell in love with the wide smile that this compact infielder carried with him across the country. Hardcore loyalists immediately recognized something else within his demeanor as he appeared in his first 14 games in September 2000. He channeled the spirit of those late 1970s and early 1980s teams. It was through that initial glimpse that a future championship chance could be seen.
The arrival of Larry Bowa coincided with and was critical to Jimmy Rollins' early career. As has often been noted by both men, their positional bond was simply the origin of a baseball relationship that eventually allowed “J-Roll” to shine.
Thirteen seasons have passed since Rollins first played on the turf at Veterans Stadium. With one World Series ring, one National League Most Valuable Player Award, two World Baseball Classic selections, three All-Star appearances and four Gold Glove Awards listed on his digital resume, the 34-year-old has little left to accomplish as his career plays out. Another World Baseball Classic nod is surely appreciated, but wasn't needed to affirm that Rollins still ranks among the best at his spot on the field.
If number 11 can remain healthy this season, he still has the tools and desire to lead his team on another pennant chase and subsequent postseason run.