A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a major league club or clubs during the period of a 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service).
On September 7th, 1996 Scott Rolen was sitting on a mediocre .254 batting average (along with 4 home runs and a pedestrian .722 OPS) after being called up and making his major league debut with the Phils on August 1st. However, the trajectory of his career changed in the third inning of a game against the Cubs when his arm was broken on a pitch thrown by by Steve Trachsel. As a result, Rolen is forced to miss the remainder of the 1996 season. The Phils would go on to win this game 4-2, thanks in part to an 8th inning pinch hit RBI double by (current General Manager) Ruben Amaro Jr.
This unfortunate hit-by-pitch and broken arm will prove to be a blessing in disguise for the guy once considered to be the "future of the franchise". Why? Because with only 130 at bats and 31 days of service time, Scott Rolen is technically still a rookie. One more at bat would have pushed him over the hump.
Healthy and experienced, Rolen will go on to have an outstanding 1997 season: .283 batting average, 21 HRs and a much improved .846 OPS. He becomes the first Phillie to win the National League Rookie of the Year award since Dick Allen won it in 1964. The day after he wins the award, Rolen is quoted as saying:
"Now would be a good time to thank Steve Trachsel, who was a big part of this... At the time, I wasn't really happy with him. Now, I might give him a call and thank him."