April 29, 2005

Rolen retrospective

Mailing it in: For something quick to chew on this morning, here's a little piece I wrote on Scott Rolen for a promotional R-Phils poster, which will run in back of Tuesday's Reading Eagle sports section.

Scott Rolen, 3B
Played in Reading 1995-96
.349 BA, 57 RBIs

Now: The hardest part about remembering Scott Rolen as a prospect in Reading is knowing he reached his greatest heights as a Cardinal and not a Phillie.

Last season was his best, helping lead St. Louis back to the World Series for the first time since 1987. He posted career highs in every major offensive category: batting average (.314) on-base percentage (.409) slugging (.598) home runs (34) and RBIs (124).

Lights-out defense had always been his specialty, but 2004 was arguably his finest with the leather, posting a career-best .977 fielding percentage and committing just 10 errors in 1,228 innings of work.

After the season, he earned his sixth Gold Glove award and challenged Barry Bonds by earning votes for NL MVP.

Then: It all started with humble beginnings, and the future superstar sharpened his craft in Reading. It was here that team officials truly realized they had something special on their hands, reminiscent of another hot shot third baseman who blazed through town 25 years earlier.

Originally selected in the second round of the 1993 amateur draft, the 21-year-old earned respect for his hard work and keen baseball savvy, playing the game, as the old-timers would say, "as it ought to be played." He made an immediate impact in a late 1995 call-up, homering in his first at bat, and in the remaining 20 games, he hit .289 and helped lead Reading to the Eastern League Championship.

The following season, Rolen owned Baseballtown. He hit .361 in 61 games and led the league in batting average, slugging percentage (.591), on-base percentage (.445) and doubles (22) until the Phils brass had finally seen enough. He was promoted to Triple-A June 10, and debuted in Philadelphia Aug. 1.

Future: Considered the game’s premier defensive third baseman, the Hall of Fame awaits.


At 3:56 PM, Blogger OleyRagtopguy said...

I remember back in 95 when Reading won and I first saw Rolen play. The first play I saw him make was the bare-handed charge of a bunt, fielding and throwing in one motion. Immediately I knew, here came a great one and he was OURS!!

Thanks to Ed Wade and the rest of the bums that left him get away!!

I know it was on his own free will, but I think that if the hand had been played differently, Scott would today be manning 3B instead of the has-been that mans it now.


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