Friday Rockpile: Introducing The Very Unofficial Rockies Hall of Fame

Did Matt Holliday do enough before being traded for Carlos Gonzalez to surpass certain Blake Street Bombers into the Very Unofficial Rockies Hall of Fame? - Steve Dykes, Getty Images

The Hall of Fame is certainly a tired subject, particularly for Rockies fans, but we won't move on until we have a positive angle in which to celebrate it.

Even aside from the general baseball fan frustration with 2013's Hall of Fame "class," Rockies fans have reason to be frustrated with the Hall of Fame topic. The best player in franchise history is treading water on the periphery of the Hall of Fame discussion, and as a slew of deserving candidates hit the ballots in upcoming years, Larry Walker is likely to get pushed aside.

When that happens, Rockies fans will likely have to wait a really long time to see a CR in Cooperstown. Todd Helton has good numbers, but if Walker does not have near enough support, things don't bode well for the ToddFather, who has inferior numbers and earned them all as a Rockie at a less premium position. He also does not have an MVP to his name.

Troy Tulowitzki has fallen a bit behind a Hall of Fame pace, and Carlos Gonzalez is not at that level. Six current MLB franchises are not represented in the Hall, butfive of those (Rays, Mariners, Marlins, Diamondbacks and Angels) have players who played for them in the Hall. The Rockies are the only franchise not to have be respresented in the Hall of Fame in any way.

Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus forecasted how long the wait will be for these six franchises, and the Rockies have the longest wait. Miller has essentially written off Walker and Helton, barring a miraculous 2013-15 run from Todd, who is coming back for one more year. Even if Tulowitzki gets on track, he would likely be waiting until after 2030. It just may be that the first Rockie Hall of Famer has not played in the majors yet.

So as we as Rockies fans are clearly left on the outside of the Hall, I propose celebrating what we as Rockies fans have had by introducing the Very Unofficial Rockies Hall of Fame. There are no retired numbers or Rings of Fame at Coors Field, so our only way to celebrate past Rockies heroes are through fantasy camp and cheering for our new coaching staff.

So the rules I have come up with:

  • It has to be a very exclusive club, at least as high of a bar to get into as the BBWAA Hall of Fame.
  • It must count players value in a Rockies uniform over total career value. Otherwise, we would have a "Rockies" Hall of Fame featuring Dale Murphy, Jamie Moyer and Steve Finley.
  • For the ease of entry, I'll go with Baseball Reference WAR in a Rockies uniform to rank players.
So the important first question is to ask how many we allow in. Adam Darowski ran a great piece this summer about how much Hall of Famers are represented in the game. Given zero enshrined Wednesday and more players debuting in the majors since his piece, the percentage of MLB players in the Hall has decreased. We are now at 208 Hall of Famers as players (not including Negro League players) out of 17,939 players who have ever played. That is 1.16% of players.

So let us take 1.16% of all players to every play for Colorado. According to Baseball Reference, there have been 247 pitchers in Rockies history, from Lariel Gonzalez' perfect inning in 1997 to Aaron Cook's 5710 batters faced. There have been 217 hitters, from Todd Helton's 9011 plate appearances to Kevin Sefcik's one pinch-hit flyout in 2001. (Craig Counsell has the 2nd least PA in Rox history. See Rox Girl's depressing post yesterday about him).

That is 464 players total in Rockies history over 20 years. If we apply the real Hall's exclusivity, that gives us FIVE players for the Rockies' Hall of Fame. Ranked by rWAR in a Rockies uniform, we indeed have five clear candidates, followed by a decent drop-off to number six.

Without further ado, the Rockies Hall of Famers:

1B Todd Helton 58.4 61.3 9011 .320 .419 .545 .964 135 2420 570 36 354 1345 37 29 1295 1088 16 1997 2012 5 2123
RF Larry Walker 46.5 41.6 4795 .334 .426 .618 1.044 147 1361 297 44 258 848 126 40 584 659 10 1995 2004 4 1170
SS Troy Tulowitzki 25.7 25.6 3177 .292 .364 .504 .868 117 822 160 23 130 470 53 30 304 499 7 2006 2012 2 744
LF Matt Holliday 17.5 22.2 2968 .319 .386 .552 .938 131 848 188 23 128 483 66 17 251 505 5 2004 2008 3 698


Ubaldo Jimenez 56 45 0.554 3.66 128 17.8 20.7 138 137 8 3 851 722 375 346 55 371 26 773 42 49 3592 6 2006 2011 1

There could be an argument that Tulowitzki should not be eligible, as he is still playing. If we were to follow the real Hall rules (five years post-retirement), we'd have a very different list, including Walker, Vinny Castilla, Andres Galarraga, Ellis Burks and Steve Reed. While Dante Bichette is certainly celebrated in Rockies' lore, he'd be a Jim Rice type addition - feared but without the requisite numbers, especially considering his defense.

What say you, do you agree with my five?


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