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Rich Rollins

As an ex-major league baseball player, Rich Rollins is an excellent example for all those athletes who are told that they don't have what it takes to excel. "When I played at Kent," Rollins told the Akron Beacon Journal in a 1991 interview, "all I heard was what I couldn't do - I couldn't run, I couldn't field, I couldn't hit a curve, I wasn't big enough and I had no position." Rollins' critics were wrong on all counts. All the Parma native did at Kent State was log one of the finest careers in the Golden Flashes' proud baseball history. He was a three-time All-Mid-American Conference first team selection (1958-60) at second base and batted .383 for his career, second in KSU history to Hall of Famer Thurman Munson (.390). Rollins' best season at Kent was 1959 when he hit .429. Just one year after leaving KSU, Rollins was playing in the major leagues. He signed a free agent contract with the Washington Senators franchise, which was moved to Minnesota. Rich made his big-league debut with the Twins in June 1961, and by the beginning of the 1962 season he was the Twins' starting third baseman. He spent eight seasons with the Twins, his best year being 1963 when he batted .307 with 16 home runs and 61 runs batted in. In 1964, Rollins led the American League in triples with 10 (who said he couldn't run?), and in 1965 he played in the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Over his 10-year career Rollins, who also played for the Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians and the Seattle Pilots, had a career average of .269 and totaled 887 hits, 77 home runs and had 399 RBI. Rollins was inducted into the KSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1977.

Inducted 1999 | Baseball