By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Throughout his 15 seasons in Philadelphia, Jimmy Rollins wasn’t always loved. He was booed at times for not hustling out ground balls and chastised for calling the fan base “front-runners” in 2008.

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Ultimately, however, Rollins will be remembered for his “team to beat” quote before his 2007 MVP season, his clutchness during the Phillies’ unforgettable 2008 World Series run, his flair for the dramatic, all of those remarkable diving snares, the head first slides, and that unique smile he brought to the ballpark.

Rollins excelled in the Philadelphia atmosphere, explained former 37-year Phillies TV broadcaster Chris Wheeler, a tough sports town that can just as easily derail an athletes career.

“Jimmy Rollins is such a special, special player,” Wheeler told Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis on 94WIP Afternoons. “A red light player, a guy who loved the attention. He thrived on the attention. He loved to play in this atmosphere and this town, which some people cannot do and he really wanted to play here. Even when he would annoy people, he really didn’t worry about that sort of stuff, he just did his thing.

Listen to Chris Wheeler on 94WIP Afternoons:

 

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Wheeler says Rollins is the undoubted best Phillies shortstop ever, and is in his personal top five.

“Jimmy obviously is the greatest shortstop in the organization’s history, and Larry Bowa would say that, that Jimmy is there,” Wheeler said. “So, you know, that’s interesting. I never thought about ranking the greatest Phillies of all-time and where he would fit in there.”

“He’s in my top five in guys I’ve ever been around and like and admired,” Wheeler said.

When Rollins was reportedly traded on Wednesday evening, Wheeler shared the sentiment of most Phillies fans.

“So, my first reaction yesterday was I was very, very sad—personally—to lose a guy and see him not play here, and yet I totally understand what’s going on.”

 

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