Rollins, Howard debut on Hall of Fame ballot

November 22nd, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies hope that next month is finally the month Dick Allen is recognized as one of the greatest players in baseball history.

The Golden Days Era Committee will announce the results of its Hall of Fame vote on Dec. 5.

Next up are , and the Baseball Writers' Association of America’s Hall of Fame ballot. It is the first time the Phillies legends have appeared on the ballot, which was released Monday. Rollins and Howard are considered the greatest shortstop and first baseman in franchise history, respectively, and they were part of the core that led the Phillies to the 2008 World Series championship, two NL pennants and five consecutive NL East titles from 2007-11. They have plenty of hardware at home, too.

“It’s really cool,” Howard told reporters in September about being on the ballot for the first time with Rollins. “Chase [Utley] messed it up because he played another 12 years. But it’s awesome. It’s always an honor to be on something like that, and to be on something like that with Jimmy is really cool.”

Players need to appear on 75 percent of ballots cast for induction. They must appear on at least 5 percent of ballots cast to remain on the ballot for no more than 10 years. After that, candidates move to the Era Committee system for review.

Returning players on the ballot with Phillies connections are Curt Schilling, Scott Rolen, Billy Wagner and Bobby Abreu. Schilling is in his 10th and final season of eligibility. He appeared on 71.1 percent of ballots last year. Rolen (52.9 percent) enters his fifth year. Wagner (46.4 percent) enters his seventh. Abreu (8.7 percent) enters his third.

Another newcomer on the ballot with Phillies ties is Jonathan Papelbon, who made two All-Star teams in four seasons with the team. Papelbon earned 123 of his 368 saves with the Phils, for whom he pitched to a 2.31 ERA.

Rollins won the 2007 NL MVP Award, four Gold Gloves and one Silver Slugger Award and made three NL All-Star teams in his 17-year career. He slashed .264/.324/.418 with 2,455 hits, 511 doubles, 115 triples, 231 home runs, 936 RBIs, 1,421 runs scored and 470 stolen bases. He is the Phillies’ all-time hits leader.

He was a rare combination of power, speed and defense rarely seen at the position.

Rollins is one of just five shortstops in baseball history (minimum 51 percent of career games played at the position) with at least 2,000 hits and 200 home runs. Cal Ripken Jr., Derek Jeter, Robin Yount and Miguel Tejada are the others.

But forget about shortstop for a second. Here is the list of all players in baseball history with 200 homers, 2,000 hits and 450 stolen bases: Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan, Paul Molitor, Roberto Alomar and Rollins. Henderson, Morgan, Molitor and Alomar are in the Hall of Fame. Bonds is not.

“Jimmy and Chase were two of the smartest, most intuitive players that I ever played with,” Howard said. “Just from understanding situations, knowing what’s going on. … [Rollins’] knowledge and understanding of the game, the plays that he would make. He would always tell me, ‘Hey, be ready. I’m going to skip [the throw].’ Because if the grass was just a little bit wet and he had to go toward the third-base hole, he wasn’t going to try to air it out. He was going to try to give me a good, nice, long bounce. Guys like that, knowing prior what they were going to do. I didn’t play with too many guys like that.”

Howard won the 2006 NL MVP, 2005 NL Rookie of the Year and one Silver Slugger and made three NL All-Star teams. He finished in the top five for NL MVP from 2007-09, and top 10 in 2010 and 2011. He slashed .258/.343/.515 with 277 doubles, 21 triples, 382 home runs, 1,194 RBIs and 848 runs scored in his 13-year career. He hit a franchise-record 58 home runs in 2006.

Howard was unquestionably one of baseball’s most feared and dominant sluggers from 2005-11. There is a reason Charlie Manuel nicknamed Howard “The Big Piece.” Perhaps more than anybody, he made the Phillies’ offense go for years.

But what do voters value? And how much will they consider modern metrics as guides?

Rollins finished his career with 47.6 WAR, according to Baseball Reference. Bill James’ Hall of Fame Monitor gives Rollins’ career a score of 121. A likely Hall of Famer is 100. A lock is 130. Rollins’ Hall of Fame Standards score is 42. An average Hall of Famer is 50. The JAWS metric ranks Rollins 32nd among all-time shortstops.

Omar Vizquel appeared on 49.1 percent of ballots in January in his fourth year of eligibility. Vizquel is regarded as a defensive wizard, but he finished his career with 45.6 WAR.

Howard finished his career with 14.7 WAR. His Hall of Famer Monitor is 99. His Hall of Fame Standards is 25. The JAWS metric ranks him 145th among first basemen.