Rolen, who last played in 2012 with the Cincinnati Reds, is hesitant to use the word retirement. In an interview with Spink Award winner Paul Hagen, he thinks of himself as an inactive player at the moment.
This week, Rolen found himself on a field for the first time since his last game in 2012. Of all places, it was at the Philadelphia Phillies camp. It appears that both sides have gotten over the incidents that drew them apart over a decade ago.
That Rolen’s re-emergence into the baseball world came in Phillies camp is, if nothing else, an interesting coincidence. He played in the World Series twice with the Cardinals, earning a ring in 2006. He went to the playoffs twice with the Reds. He played two years in Toronto, making a point on Wednesday of saying hello to Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
Whether or not Rolen chooses to retire from the game, his Hall of Fame clark started following the end of the 2012 season. The 2018 ballot is the first ballot in which Rolen will be eligible for induction.
Eleven third basemen are already enshrined there, and he fits comfortably into that group. His career OPS of .855, for example, was bettered by only George Brett (.857), Wade Boggs (.858), Eddie Mathews (.885) and Schmidt (.908). His baserunning and defense were top shelf. He may not be a slam dunk but certainly merits serious consideration.
It’s hard to say exactly what the writers will do but having 1 World Series ring, 7 All-Star selections, 316 home runs and eight Gold Gloves should not hurt his cause. Rolen got 2,000 career hits unlike former Cardinals teammate Jim Edmonds, so that should help as well.
The writers voting today will not be the same exact body as those that vote in at the end of 2017. Defensively, he’s up there with Schmidt and Brooks Robinson.