Rollins’ Big Day

Jimmy RollinsJimmy Rollins today made a record-setting 14th consecutive Opening Day start for the Phillies.

It set a National League record for shortstops with 14 consecutive Opening Day starts for the same franchise. Cincinnati’s Dave Concepcion held the previous mark with 13. Rollins also tied Baltimore’s Cal Ripken Jr. for the big league record. Ripken started 14 straight from 1983-96.

“It’s cool,” Rollins said after a 14-10 victory over the Rangers at Globe Life Park. “I don’t think too much of it. If I’m on the team, I expect to be out there.”

Rollins then hit the 200th homer of his career in the second inning, a grand slam to hand the Phillies a 6-0 lead. He is the 19th player in baseball history to have 400 or more doubles, 100 or more triples and 200 or more home runs in a career. Fifteen of the first 18 players are in the Hall of Fame, including Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, Al Simmons, Jimmie Foxx, Stan Musial, Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, George Brett, Robin Yount and Paul Molitor.

“Oh yeah, I knew that,” Rollins said of the milestone. “I remember growing up going to Oakland A’s games and looking at the size of Mark McGwire and I was like, ‘I’m not going to hit too many home runs. I’ll hit a few, but I could play there (in the big leagues).’ Going back to that, I guess I proved myself wrong.”

Rollins’ next homer will be his 200th as a shortstop, as one of his homers came as a pinch-hitter.

Some wondered if Rollins would make the Opening Day lineup. He is on baby watch, with his wife expecting their second child in the coming days. Rollins did not travel with the team from Philadelphia to Texas on Saturday, instead arriving Sunday night. If Rollins’ wife goes into labor, he is expected to leave the team. Major League Baseball allows players three days of paternity leave, which Rollins used with the birth of his first child in May 2012.

“I stayed an extra day because I didn’t want to fly here and fly back if something happened,” Rollins said. “I wanted to be there. The baby let me go out there and play ball for a few more days.”

Mike Schmidt holds the Phillies’ record for consecutive Opening Day starts at any position, with 16 at third base from 1974-89.

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