Jimmy Rollins says he wasn’t thinking about his milestone as much as earning another dramatic victory.
Well in this case, only one out of two was accomplished.
Rollins tied Mike Schmidt for the franchise record of 2,234 hits with a ninth inning double in Friday’s 2-1 loss to the visiting Chicago Cubs.
Rollins did score in the ninth, but the game ended when Carlos Ruiz took a called third strike with runners at the corners.
“I was thinking walk ‘em off again, why not,” Rollins said.
It didn’t happen which is probably why Rollins wasn’t gloating about his milestone.
He did say how much it meant to do it at home, but when asked what it means to share the record, he said, “It means I need some more hits.”
There is some truth to that statement. As Rollins needs one more hit to stand alone, he has been slumping.
In his 17 previous games entering Friday, he was batting .188 with 16 strikeouts and a .291 on base percentage.
He insists the impending milestone didn’t make him any more anxious at the plate.
“No, not really, he said. “When you are not hot, you are not hot.”
He then expanded.
“The hit record being upon me isn’t going to make a difference,” he said. “It won’t make me hot or cold.”
Rollins says he takes the same approach, regardless of the situation.
And then he showed deference to Schmidt when again asked what the record means.
“I am not at the top yet,” Rollins said. “It is still his record, I just tied it today.”
Before the game, manager Ryne Sandberg said Rollins’ success is a testament to his dedication.
“He takes care of himself during the season, he wants to be in there every day, he wants to play shortstop every day so I think that’s the way he goes about his routine away from the field and when he gets here,” Sandberg said. “He’s one of the harder workers in the batting cage. Just does a lot of things to get ready for a game.”
To amplify that point, Rollins has played 154 or more games 10 different times. In 12 of his first 13 full seasons, he had at least 625 plate appearances.
“If you are around long enough and are a healthy enough of a player,” Rollins said, “You will accomplish some cool things.”