There may have been 27 seasons of Major League Baseball in Denver, but there hasn’t always been a lot to celebrate.
There are nine winning seasons. A handful of superstars. Five postseasons (thanks, Wild Card). Just one World Series appearance. And now, finally, a Hall of Famer… but that celebration will have to wait another year.
So, when an award like National League Rookie of the Month is bestowed upon a player like Clint Barmes, it’s something worth celebrating.
By winning the April honors, the 26-year-old shortstop became the first position player and second overall to take the prize with the Rockies in 2005. (RHP Jason Jennings in August of 2002 was the first.)
In more recent seasons, Trevor Story (2016) and Antonio Senzatela (2017) were also named April’s National League Rookie of the Month.
While Barmes did not record a hit on this day 15 years ago, he began the month with a memorable walk-off homer against Trevor Hoffman on Opening Day.
By batting .410 with four home runs and 14 RBI, the Indiana native joined the New York Yankees Willie Randolph (1980) and the Montréal Expos Andrés Galarraga (1986) as the only players who have ever hit .400 or better in March/April.
Colorado players love to spring into action at the start of the season, and several of the all-time greatest in franchise history have won April’s NL Player of the Month Award over the years: Ellis Burks (1994), Larry Walker (1997), Todd Helton (2003), and Troy Tulowitzki (2014).
Shawn Chacon came away the NL Pitcher of the Month in April of 2003, the first hurler to win the award for Colorado and, seven years later, Ubaldo Jiménez joined the Greeley native for pitching excellence.
Run, Don’t Walk
On this day in 1998, Larry Walker was caught stealing the same base twice in the same inning…during the same plate appearance in Colorado’s 4-0 victory over the New York Mets.
The dirty details aren’t that simple: Mets’ catcher Jim Tatum – an original Rockies member playing in just his fourth game behind the plate of his five-year career – nabbed Walker twice at second base even though it only counted as one out.
Walker was charged with a caught stealing the first time for getting thrown out at second base, but New York Mets shortstop Luis López – who came as a defensive replacement for reigning NL Gold Glove Award winner Rey Ordoñez – was charged with an error and Walker turned back to first base.
Three pitches later, Tatum threw out Walker once again; however, second baseman Carlos Baerga covered this time and made the play for the first out of the eighth inning.
German Márquez took a perfect game into the sixth inning in Milwaukee before Ben Gamel singled to wash away the magic in the Brewers 4-3 win on this day in 2019.
Galaragga mashed a three-run home run in the first inning and was intentionally walked a franchise record three times; he also squeezed in an RBI-sacrifice fly between the gestures of respect in Colorado’s 6-2 victory over the Florida Marlins.
On This Day In Baseball History
In 1961, Willie Mays becomes the ninth player in major league history to slug four home runs on the road during the San Francisco Giants’ 14 – 4 victory at Milwaukee.