Can Jimmy Rollins Catch Joe DiMaggio?

ByABC News
April 2, 2006, 11:40 AM

April 2, 2006 — -- After a white-hot 2005, Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is closing in on the longest hitting streak in baseball -- Joe DiMaggio's 56-straight games with a hit. Rollins gets his next chance at bat Monday, opening day at Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia, where George Will found him unfazed by the pressure.

George Will: You've hit in 36 games. You're heading for 56, DiMaggio's record. Do you ever have the feeling, you look around and say what is a little guy like me from Oakland, Calif., doing chasing this?

Jimmy Rollins: I've never really thought of it that way. You know, I just want to come to the ballpark truthfully every day and do something to help the team win.

Will: You've been telling your brother for years you can break DiMaggio's record. Where'd you get that confidence?

Rollins: That's something I think I was born with. You know, I say it was ingrained in me as a young, young boy, a little shorty. My mother, she never let us, or my father for that reason, they never let us, you know, settle for second best. You know, the word "almost" wasn't accepted in my house. It was like: Almost? Well, why didn't you do it? What kept you back?

Will: You're trying to set a very important record at a difficult moment in baseball history, when a lot of fans think a lot of records are tainted. Baseball, now, has the toughest steroid penalties of any professional sport. Are you confident that the steroid era is over?

Rollins: Oh, yeah. I'm very confident. If you're still doing steroids at this moment, you know, you're running a real good risk by never playing baseball again. And I think that's, you know-- The best threat that you can have is saying that, if you get caught cheating, you're going to get kicked out of the game.

And, you know, as you understand, this is our livelihood. This is how we make money. This is how we feed our families. Without baseball, a lot of us would be up in the air, not knowing what to do. And I'm definitely one of them. And, you know, just with that strict policy -- three strikes and you're out.