Not only is the city of Denver very high up in elevation. The players who play and have played for the city emerged to be larger than life as well. For instance, the Broncos had Elway and Tebow at the forefront. Alex English and Carmelo Anthony dominated the court. Baseball doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to the mile-high city, but there have been some great players to call Coors Field their home. The Colorado Rockies have never won a ‘ship so I couldn’t be too picky here.
Although the Colorado Rockies never won it all, they made one helluva run in 2007. They put fear in the hearts of the NL West, forcing a tiebreaker with San Diego, winning that, and going on to face the Red Sox in that year’s fall classic. Who was the captain of the team? You guessed it, the Toddfather himself. Helton had the heartbreak of playing his entire 17-year career as a member of the Rockies. He has Hall of Fame numbers, displaying a career .316 batting average, 369 home runs, and 1,406 runs batted in.
Unfortunately, Helton has two factors against him barring his way into Cooperstown. Firstly, is the fact he played in perhaps the most hitter-friendly park in all of baseball. Secondly, he played in the steroid era where literally everyone was hitting at least 40 home runs a season. Not that Helton was ever suspected of taking them, but great seasons of his in the late 1990s get overshadowed.
A growing trend for most of the offensive players on this list is the fact that their stats were inflated by Coors Field. It’s sad to say that Larry Walker is in this group, but he was an outlier. He is actually a Hall of Famer and downright deserves to be. The traditionalist baseball writers saw the light, and realized no matter where Walker played, he was a terror with the bat. He has very similar career stats to Todd Helton, parking 383 career home runs, a .313 batting average, and 1,311 runs batted in. Walker has an MVP under his belt in 1997, a season in which he batted .366 with 49 home runs and 130 Runs batted in. Best of all? He actually hit more home runs on the road with 29 than he did at home. He also batted .346 on the road. Talk about a special player.
This man falls into the category of “great when healthy.” His power numbers as a shortstop are truly epic and changed really what being a shortstop was all about. Before Tulo, most shortstops were speedy leadoff men who didn’t really hit for power. Say what you want about Cal Ripken Jr, Tulo had much more power in that bat and started a trend. He would’ve proved it too, had he not been made of glass. As a Rockie, he averaged around 25 home runs, 100 Runs batted in, and a .297 batting average. Not to mention consistent gold glove defense in the six-hole. He made five all-star game appearances between 2010-2015. So many what-ifs.
Some may argue this decision for me to include him, given he only played five seasons for Colorado, but stats and accolades don’t lie. Also, the Rockies franchise has only been around since 1993, so there haven’t been that many players in their short history to make an impact. But, Holliday accomplished so much in those five short years. He was also right up there in 2007 with Todd Helton, leading their team to the National League Pennant, but losing to the Red Sox.
In those five years, he batted .319 with 137 home runs, and 483 runs batted in. He also made three all-star appearances during that period. In his 2007 season he led the league in batting average at .340, doubles with 52, runs batted in with 137 and hits at 216. He received runner-up in MVP honors taking home a Silver Slugger award.
In the end, debating over Matt Holliday and Nolan Arenado was tough. I chose Holliday strictly due to his playoff success. The Colorado Rockies are a very new franchise yet they have some players who are future Hall of Famers. Look out for Blackmon and Story.