08/20/2008 3:52 PM ET
Arizona Fall League announces 2008 Hall of Fame inductees
PHOENIX -- Jimmy Rollins (SS, Philadelphia Phillies) and Eric Wedge (manager, Cleveland Indians) comprise the Arizona Fall League's 2008 Hall of Fame induction class.
"We are proud to have Jimmy Rollins and Eric Wedge join our elite fraternity of former Fall League players who have achieved success in the Major League ranks," offers Fall League Executive Director Steve Cobb. "Both men are
excellent additions to the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame and very deserving
of this honor. Jimmy Rollins has defied the odds throughout his baseball career to achieve greatness through hard work and dedication to the game. The successful transition Eric Wedge has made from player to a respected Major League manager is extraordinary."
Jimmy Rollins - After leading the Phillies to the National League East
Division championship last season and their first postseason appearance since
1993, the speedy, dynamic Rollins became the fifth former Arizona Fall League
player to be named a Major League most valuable player, joining Jason Giambi,
Ryan Howard, Justin Morneau, and Albert Pujols.
The fourth Phillie "MVP" and sixth shortstop to win the honor in the
National League, Rollins also was earned Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards
while becoming the first player in history to record 200 hits, 15 stolen bases, 25
home runs, and 25 stolen bases. Additionally, his 716 at bats set a Major-League
record, bettering Willie Wilson's mark of 706 in 198.
While appearing in all 162 games for Philadelphia last season, the Oakland, California native posted career bests in games played (162), at bats (716), runs (139), hits (212), triples (20), home runs (30), runs batted in (94), total bases (380), extra-base hits (88), and slugging percentage (.431).
He became the second Phillie (Bobby Abreu) and third major league shortstop (Barry Larkin, Alex Rodriguez) to post 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season.
Rollins' 139 runs and 88 extra-base hits set records for National League shortstops.
His 212 hits were the most by a Phillie since Dave Cash posted 213 in 1975. Entering the 2008 season, Rollins led all Major-League shortstops in games and fielding percentage over the past seven years. He also led the Major Leagues in runs scored over the previous four campaigns.
The three-time National League all-star played for the Fall League's
Maryvale Saguaros in 2000.
Eric Wedge - The sixth-year Cleveland manager guided the Indians to a Major League-best record of 96-66 (tied with Boston) in 2007 en route to the Tribe's first division championship since 2001. Wedge's Indians bested the New York Yankees three games to one in the American League Division Championship Series before falling to the eventual World Series champion Boston Red Sox four games to three in the A.L. Championship Series. Cleveland's 96 victories were the seventh-highest total in franchise history, earning Wedge American League manager-of-the-year accolades from the BBWAA, Sporting News, and Negro
League Baseball Museum.
Entering the 2008 season, the Indians boasted the fifth-best composite record in the Major Leagues since 2005 (267-219, .548) and won at least 93 games in two of the three previous seasons.
The Fort Wayne, Indiana native managed his first club in 1998 at Class-A Columbus in the South Atlantic League. The Carolina League manager-of-the-year at Class-A Kinston in 1999, Wedge spent the 2000 season managing Double-A Akron before spending 2001-02 skippering Triple-A Buffalo where he was named manager-of-the-year both seasons.
Runner-up for college player-of-the-year after leading Wichita State University to the 1989 NCAA national championship, Wedge was selected in the third round of the amateur draft by Boston in 1989 and later chosen by the Colorado Rockies in the 1992 expansion draft. He appeared in nine games during the Rockies' inaugural season in 1993. He spent parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues and played professionally for nine campaigns before embarking on his managerial career in 1998 following eight surgeries over the course of his playing career that ended after the 1997 season.
The former catcher played for the Fall League's Tucson Javelinas in 1993 as a member of the Rockies' organization. After finishing with the league's best record, the Javelinas lost a three-game championship playoff to the Tempe Rafters.
AFL Hall of Fame - The Arizona Fall League, founded in 1992, formed its Hall of Fame in 2001 to honor the top Major-League players and managers who honed their skills in the AFL.
Rollins and Wedge increase the Fall League Hall of Fame to 23 members.
Previous inductees were Garret Anderson, Dusty Baker, Jermaine Dye, Terry Francona, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Giambi, Shawn Green, Roy Halladay, Todd Helton, Torii Hunter, Derek Jeter, Derrek Lee, Grady Little, Ken Macha, Jerry Manuel, Tony Pena, Troy Percival, Mike Piazza, Albert Pujols, Mike Scioscia, and Alfonso Soriano.
The selection committee, chaired by baseball ambassador Roland Hemond, the "Architect of the Arizona Fall League," bases its appointments upon individual achievement at the Major-League level since participating in the AFL.
Each inductee will be honored individually prior to a Fall League game this season.
The AFL begins its 17th season on Tuesday, Oct. 7.