Get to know Rich Rollins
Richard John Rollins (Red) was born in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania on April 16, 1938. Rollins was about 5’ 10” and 185 pounds and he batted and threw right handed. Rich attended Kent State University and was a three-time All Mid-America Conference first team selection from 1958-1960 batting .383, second in KSU history only to former Yankee great Thurman Munson. Rollins was signed by Floyd Baker as a free agent in 1960 with the Washington Senators who would soon become the Minnesota Twins. Rich didn’t spend much time in the minors, playing in only 101 games and hitting .314 in his minor league career, Rich got that magical call from the Twins that every ballplayer hopes to get and before he knew it, he was making his major league debut against the Chicago White Sox and Don Larsen of World Series no-hit fame. Rollins played sparingly in 1961 appearing in only 13 games but his career was just beginning. In Spring Training in 1962, Rich won the starting 3B job and went on to have a great rookie season that saw him named as the starting 3B in both of the All-Star games. In his 1962 rookie season Rollins hit .298, scored 96 runs, knocked in 96 more and hit 16 home runs. These numbers garnered him enough votes to finish 8th in MVP voting after the season ended. The 1963 season got off to a rough start for Rich when he was hit in the face by Tiger right hander Paul Foytack’s pitch in the springs final exhibition game. Rollins still saw action in 136 games again hitting 16 home runs but his other numbers dropped off. In 1964 Rollins bounced back and had another good season including leading the league in triples with 10. In 1965 Rich’s playing time started to decrease and when the team played the LA Dodgers in the World Series, Rich appeared in 3 games and had only 3 plate appearances. Between 1966 and 1968 Rich’s playing time continued to decrease, and after the 1968 season Rollins was selected by the Seattle Pilots as the 26th pick in the expansion draft. That was a tough time for Rich as he was injured and on his way to an expansion team. After just one year in Seattle, in the spring of 1970, the team packed up and moved to Milwaukee and became the Milwaukee Brewers. In May of 1970 Rich was released by the Brewers and signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians where he played out the 1970 season which turned out to be Rollins final season in major league baseball. Rich Rollins had a very nice 10 year major league career playing in 1,002 games, most at 3B but he also played some 2B, SS, and made a couple of appearances in the outfield. Rich was a career .269 hitter and he hit 77 home runs in 3,303 at bats while scoring 419 times and knocking in 399 more. Today Rich Rollins is retired and is enjoying life with his family in Akron, Ohio.
There is an interesting blog that someone wrote about their personal experience with Rich when he was a member of the Twins and it makes for a fun read, click here to check it out.
There was also a short story about Rich in Time Magazine on July 20, 1962 called “Who’s on Third”, you can check that out here.
The interview with Rich is 62 minutes in length and took place in July 2009.