By Ray Boyd
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When the Phillies finally announced the trade of Jimmy Rollins, it marked the end of an era for not only Phillies baseball, but for Philadelphia sports as a whole. The goodbye was a final one for a regime of athletes that used to define this city for fans.
For better or worse, certain players were the undeniable faces of Philadelphia sports and Rollins’ departure marks the beginning of a new era in Philadelphia sports.
It seems like just yesterday when athletes like Rollins, Allen Iverson, Donovan McNabb, Brian Dawkins and Eric Lindros were the first names that you thought of when you thought of Philadelphia sports.
LISTEN: The Sports Beyond Measure Crew discussed the legacy of Jimmy Rollins (52:00) on their latest podcast.
These were athletes that had a unique and sometimes tumultuous relationship with the city, but who have all been welcomed back and honored by the fans. That is a fate that Rollins will one day enjoy as well.
The day after the trade was announced, Rollins took out a full page ad to thank the fans in Philadelphia for the time he spent in Phillies’ pinstripes.
One of the most interesting lines of the letter comes at the end of the opening paragraph where Rollins writes “I’ve spent nearly half of my life growing up in front of all of you.”
If you have followed Rollins’ time in Philadelphia, you know just how true that statement.
Rollins was drafted as a teenager in 1996 and made his Phillies debut on September 17, 2000 at the age of 21 years old.
We as fans have literally watched Rollins mature into a man and that has given the city and Rollins a strong bond that tends to mirror what you might see in your own family.
Did Rollins push our buttons sometimes? Did he annoy us every once in awhile?
Sure, but in the end there was always a deep appreciation for the outspoken shortstop that provided the Phillies with a much needed sense of attitude and confidence that propelled the team to heights that this city had not seen in decades.
Rollins also admitted in his letter that there is no ballpark that he’d rather be in during good times than Citizens Bank Park. He credited the fans for that.
Those good times more than likely would not be occurring here again during the remaining days of Rollins career. Perhaps those special moments will be relived on Tuesday, August 4th 2015.
On that night, Rollins will return to Citizens Bank Park for the first time as an opponent of the Phillies. The Phillies all-time hits leader will swing that bat in Dodger blue, but the memories conjured up on that evening will be the great ones that we shared with Rollins in pinstripes.
The Sports Beyond Measure Podcast is a weekly sports podcast that delivers a fun perspective on the latest headlines in national sports, Philadelphia professional sports and community-based sports. The series is hosted by 94 WIP’s Vince Quinn, Ray Boyd and Eric “Turtle” Golden.
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