Outside of the delayed start to the 1995 season, April 6 has been the latest any Colorado Rockies season has welcomed an Opening Day.
With Clint Hurdle at the helm, the Rockies opened the 2009 season only a year removed from winning the National League Championship. While they would return to the playoffs by season’s end for the second time in three years, it would be with Jim Tracy on the top step.
Colorado began with a 9-8 loss in Arizona due in large part to multi-homer games from Felipe López and current executive director of the MLB Players’ Association Tony Clark.
Aaron Cook, making his second Opening Day start, lasted only 2.1 innings and surrendered six earned runs in the no-decision. Every starter except Garrett Atkins recorded a hit for the Purples in their first Opening Day without Matt Holliday in the starting lineup since 2004.
Through the first 46 games of 2009, Colorado played to a .419 winning percentage (18-28). Following a three-game sweep by the Dodgers at Coors Field on May 27, Hurdle was removed from his post and replaced by Tracy who went 74-42 (.638) the rest of the way to earn the Rockies the NL Wild Card.
The 2004 campaign was the first for the Rockies without Larry Walker. Vinny Castilla returned home to the organization that helped elevate his status as a star third baseman after five years away playing with the likes of Tampa Bay, Houston, and Atlanta.
Todd Helton went 4-for-4 against against fellow left-hander Randy Johnson in the 6-2 defeat of the Big Unit and rookie Luis A. Gonzalez made the most of his opportunity by homering in his big league debut.
Colorado’s lineup that day featured two aging – albeit quality – players in Jeromy Burnitz and Royce Clayton. It was his fourth team in as many seasons for Burnitz (it would be six teams in six years to finish his career) and Clayton was on his third team in three years (it would be eight teams in his final six years).
A 5-3 win against the Houston Astros in their final season before moving to the American League opened the 2012 season. Leading the club to a 64-98 record, a franchise-worst since moving into Coors Field, signaled the end of Tracy’s tenure as Colorado’s skipper.
The 2015 season opener saw the most lopsided Opening Day victory in franchise history, a 10-0 drubbing of Milwaukee on the road.
Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, starters Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson would be traded within the year to bring in prospects such as Miguel Castro, Jeff Hoffman, Jesus Tinóco and German Márquez while simultaneously creating room at shortstop for Trevor Story.
On This Date
Márquez signs a five-year, $43M deal with Colorado. The deal extends Colorado’s control for one-year in 2023 and allows for a team option at $16.5M in 2024 that could become a mutual option with two top three finishes for the NL Cy Young Award.
In 2019, Josh Fuentes becomes only the seventh Rockies player to record a pinch-hit in his MLB debut.
On This Date In Baseball History
The American League adopts the designated hitter and Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees becomes the first DH in the big leagues in 1973.