Of the core of players that helped the Phillies win the 2008 World Series, Jimmy Rollins was the first to come and the first to go.
It has been nearly two years since Rollins was traded to Los Angeles as the Phillies began to deconstruct the core of veterans that led them to five-straight postseasons. And now the last piece - the Big Piece - of that run is ready to bid farewell. Rollins, through a statement from his agent, remembered Ryan Howard before Howard plays his final game on Sunday with the Phillies.
"When Ryan first arrived in Philadelphia, he was merely filling in for Jim in the eyes of many, but he did not let that opportunity to shine pass him by. He quickly became feared as he won Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in consecutive years and reached 200 home runs quicker than anyone in the history of the game. He loved the pressure and wanted to be the man at the plate when the game mattered most. During our run, we leaned on him many times for big hits and clutch home runs and he found ways to deliver. Ryan never stopped working to better himself and his craft…whether it was getting to field early for extra defensive work or finding that sweet home run stroke. Although he hit a lot of them, he was more than just a power hitter, he was a great teammate!! We all hoped to bring more than one championship to Philadelphia, but without Ryan that one may not have been possible. So, many thanks to "Big Piece" for being such a big piece of the best years of my career in the City of Brotherly Love!!!"