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Citizens Bank Park rocked with chants of “MVP” as Jimmy Rollins stood at third base on September 28, 2007. He had tripled in the seventh inning to put the finishing touches on a 20-20-20-20 MVP season and formally characterize the Phillies as “the team to beat” in the NL East. In his prime at 28-years-old and only getting better, Hall of Fame didn’t seem out of the picture for Jimmy Rollins.

Now 14 years later and five years post-retirement, the situation is more complicated. When the BBWAA votes on the Hall of Fame class of 2022, he will spend his first year on the ballot. While Rollins may not be as appealing as other candidates, he is certainly not short of accolades.

For his career, Rollins accumulated 2,455 hits, 115 triples, and 470 stolen bases. He won four Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger, made three All-Star appearances and of course, has a National League MVP award. Rollins leads the Phillies in career doubles and at-bats, as well as holding the prestigious franchise hits record. But is that enough?

In MLB history, there have been 23 Hall of Fame shortstops. Of those 23, the average rWAR is 67.8 and the average WAR7 (an individual player's seven best seasons, need not be consecutive) is 43.2. Rollins' for his career has 47.6 rWAR and a WAR7 of 32.7.

Of the 23 Hall of Fame shortstops, Rollins only had more WAR than four, Travis Jackson, Rabbit Maranville, Hughie Jennings and Phil Rizzuto and of those four only Maranville, who last played in 1935, has a lower WAR7 than Rollins. All of those four were elected post-ballot by the Veterans Committee.

That’s not to say though it would be impossible for Rollins to be elected by the BBWAA, but the precedent is simply not there. Omar Vizquel has found himself in a similar conundrum his past four years on the ballot.

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In 2021, Vizquel received 49.1% votes of the necessary 75% to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Vizquel and Rollins both have similar WAR totals, 45.6 and 47.6 respectively. both were defense first shortstops, though Vizquel played better defense while Rollins played better offense.

Vizquel, however, has no World Series ring nor MVP. His career OPS+ is 82 to Rollins’ 95. Rollins also spent almost his entire career with one team while Vizquel was a journeyman for much of his career. Vizquel never matched Rollins' peak, the Venezuelan only has a WAR7 of 26.8.

Using Vizquel as a baseline for what Rollins may be able to achieve on the ballot, it’s possible to convince oneself that by the end of his 10-year eligibility Rollins could receive 75% of the vote. However, the Philly favorite certainly has an uphill battle.

A steady decline post-2008 meant Rollins only had an OPS+ above 100 just six times in his career. Nagging injuries meant his defense declined post-2008 as well. -23 DRS after turning 30 won't do Rollins any favors considering his light hitting.

Should Rollins make the Hall of Fame, his World Series ring and MVP must shine above all else. Before his 2007 MVP season Rollins made the Phillies "the team to beat." Now  the BBWAA will be Rollins' "team to beat."

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