Depending on one’s standpoint, the baseball idiom regarding a “cup of coffee” can be positive or negative.
The career of Archibald Wright Graham lasted all of one game on June 25, 1905 for the New York Giants. He entered late as a defensive replacement and did not get a plate appearance.
Forgotten for decades, author W.P. Kinsella included “Moonlight” Graham for his 1982 novel Shoeless Joe, later adapted for the big screen as Field of Dreams in 1989.
The Rockies’ Jay Gainer may some day be deemed worthy of similar treatment.
Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 24th round, the Florida native was blocked at first base by All-Star Fred McGriff before being acquired by Colorado just weeks ahead of their inaugural game.
While Gainer had a new opportunity ahead of him, he had yet another star player ahead of him on the depth chart: Andrés Galarraga, eventual National League Comeback Player of the Year.
After a month with Triple-A Colorado Springs, Gainer finally got the call to the majors. He did not wait long to make the most of his opportunity.
In his first big league game, in his first plate appearance and on the first pitch he’d see in MLB, Gainer homered off Cincinnati Reds starter Tim Pugh.
By doing so, he became only the 22nd player in Major League history – not to mention the first and only Rockies player – to capitalize on such an opportunity.
However magical of a moment, Gainer’s time in the spotlight would be brief. He’d play only 23 games with Colorado in ’93, a majority as a pinch hitter.
And with that, he’d never spend another minute in the majors.
In 1997, Rockies bullpen blew multiple leads (7-5 and 9-6) at Three Rivers Stadium against the Pittsburgh Pirates and surrendered nine runs in the eighth inning during the 15-10 loss. Six pitchers allowed 12 walks on the night, including two that set the stage for Al Martin’s grand slam.
Colorado loses 9-7 to the Chicago Cubs in 1998 due in part to 17 men left on base, a franchise record for a nine-inning game. Dante Bichette and Neifi Pérez notched four hits each while Vinny Castilla went 5-for-6, including a double and a home run.
Carlos González collected five hits, including a pair of homers, during 9 – 4 win over the Cubs in 2013. Much like 15 years prior, the Rockies recorded 17 hits to support Jeff Francis’ 63rd career win with the club during his final season in purple.
Fracas at Fenway
In one of the most dominant games pitched against Colorado, Chris Sale struck out 17 during seven innings of work at Fenway Park in 2019 and Boston pitchers tallied 24 strikeouts during the 11-inning affair.
Charlie Blackmon tagged a two-run homer in the eighth to tie it at 4-4. Mark Reynolds recorded the game-winning RBI with a single off Ryan Brasier. Unfortunately for Reynolds, he went 6-for-52 (.115) with two doubles and four RBI from May 18 through his final game of the season on July 19 before being designated for assignment on July 21.
Ellis Burks began the campaign for his first National League Player of the Week Award – .467 with three home runs and seven runs batted in – with Colorado in 1996 and only the seventh in franchise history. (1996)
On This Day In Baseball History
In 1966, Roberto Clemente records his sixth and final career home run off Sandy Koufax in ninth inning to spoil the lefty’s 36th shutout in Los Angeles’ 4-1 victory over Pittsburgh.