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Imagining a Colorado Rockies statue park

There aren’t any statues of Rockies players outside Coors Field. Let’s build nine of them.

NLCS: Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies - Game 4 Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

In front of the home plate entrance to Coors Field stands an anonymous, bronze baseball player. The Rockies unveiled the statue, entitled “The Player”, in 2005 as a tribute to Branch Rickey. There’s nothing wrong with the statue. It’s well done, and it makes for a convenient meeting spot before or after the game.

But there’s nothing distinct about the statue. The statue’s sponsor, Rotary International, is based in Denver, but if you were to ask a hundred people outside of Coors Field what the statue represented, you’d likely come up empty handed. It has nothing to do with the Rockies, or Coors Field for that matter. It could be found in front of any baseball stadium in the country. That should change. “The Player” should be accompanied by statues of actual Rockies players outside of Coors Field.

I’m probably not the only person who has thought this. If you asked most Rockies fans which player should be immortalized, they would tell you Todd Helton, without hesitation. But on Tuesday night, the Rockies posted a picture of Carlos Gonzalez’s home run swing, and I couldn’t help thinking that there needed to be a monument to it. More of my followers agreed with me than I had expected.

However, as I mentioned, CarGo is not the greatest player in franchise history. He’s not even top 5 in most categories besides home runs (which is, admittedly, a big one). So if you’re going to erect a statue of him, he can’t be the only one. This got me thinking about what other statues would need to accompany him and how it should look.

Todd Helton has to have one, and I think most Rockies fans would agree that the most iconic moment in his career didn’t come at home plate, but rather at first base. The image of Helton yelling in triumph after the last out of the 2007 NLCS is arguably the most iconic moment in franchise history (so iconic that some people have it permanently tattooed on their body).

So that’s two statues we definitely need, but when I tried to imagine them next to each other, they just looked odd and disconnected. Then, like the routine throw to first that I lost in the sun at the age of 12, it hit me. Instead of placing the statues right next to each other, there should be an entire baseball diamond filled with statues representing the greatest players and moments in the stadium’s history.

In my head, the infield isn’t regulation sized at all. Perhaps there are 45 feet between the bases; maybe only 30. The statues are roughly life-sized, and they’re at ground level instead of on a pedestal. I’m imagining kids climbing on them and people taking lots of pictures with them. Maybe there would be some benches on the “infield grass” where people could sit and talk. And by each statue there would be a plaque explaining its significance.

Now you may be saying to yourself “But Ted, where could the Rockies possibly put something so large near the stadium?” Well, they just so happen to have recently purchased a large lot right next to the stadium. It’s the perfect location for a Rockies Statue Park.

Here’s how I would lay it out.

In the left-handed batter’s box...

Carlos Gonzalez in the middle of his perfect follow-through. Modeled on the cycle-completing walk-off homer he hit on July 31, 2010 against the Cubs (of which an adequate picture does not exist).

A few feet up the first base line...

Dante Bichette turning to face the crowd and pumping his fist after hitting a walk-off homer to win the first Rockies game at Coors Field in the 14th inning on April 26, 1995.

At first base...

Todd Helton raising his fists and screaming at the top of his lungs after catching the final out of the NLCS on October 15, 2007. Perhaps Eric Byrnes should be lying face down at Helton’s feet so people can step on him for historical accuracy.

In short right field...

Larry Walker making one of his signature sliding catches. Or perhaps he’s in the middle of throwing someone out at first base. He would have to be positioned closer to the infield than would be realistic, but there also won’t be a second baseman on this field, so realism is kind of out the window.

Larry Walker

Running between first and second base...

Eric Young Sr., the franchise’s all-time leader in stolen bases, in the midst of stealing one of the MLB-record-tying six bags he swiped on June 30, 1996 in a game against the Dodgers at Coors Field. The Rockies rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth on that day to win 16-15. Ah, pre-humidor Coors...

At shortstop...

Troy Tulowitzki throwing across his body after going deep in the hole to get a ground ball for the millionth time. Perhaps it’s modeled on the throw that led to Helton’s reaction over at first base. Or maybe he’s in the middle of turning his unassisted triple play on April 29, 2007.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

At third base...

Nolan Arenado coming in on a ball and picking it up with his bare hand. Or, if there are some major advancements in anti-gravity technology, going parallel to the ground to catch a screaming line drive. Before anyone suggests flipping into the stands after hitting a tarp, I’ll remind you that he did that in San Francisco, not Denver.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies - Game Two Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Rounding third and heading for home...

Ryan Spilborghs gesticulating wildly, hair flying everywhere, helmet off, and yelling at the Giants dugout after hitting a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 14th inning on August 24, 2009.

And finally...

In the right-handed batter’s box...

Matt Holliday sliding face first into home to score the winning run in the Wild Card Tiebreaker on October 1, 2007, with a sliver of his pinky finger touching home plate.

San Diego Padres v Colorado Rockies Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

So there you have it. Eight players spread out over an infield, with one just beyond it. Before you ask me why there isn’t a pitcher, allow me to explain. The Rockies do not have an obvious greatest pitcher in franchise history. Ubaldo Jimenez was certainly the greatest talent, and his no-hitter is the greatest pitching moment in Rockies history, but that happened on the road in Atlanta and not at Coors Field. Plus, the way Ubaldo’s time in Denver ended hasn’t left the most pleasant aftertaste. There are other contenders for the spot—Aaron Cook, Jason Jennings, Jorge De La Rosa—but none of them were great enough, nor did they have a signature enough moment at Coors, to warrant their inclusion. Maybe there should be a plaque on the mound that reads “THIS SPACE RESERVED FOR JON GRAY/ANTONIO SENZATELA/KYLE FREELAND/JEFF HOFFMAN.”

I know the concept isn’t perfect and that it leaves out some all-time franchise greats like Vinny Castilla and Andres Galarraga, but I still think it would be an amazing and unique addition to the exterior of Coors Field. What’s more, it could be added on to as the years go by. Perhaps we could even add a pitcher or two if some of the young guns on this staff turn out the way we hope they will.

What do you think, Purple Row? What players or moments should be included that I’ve left out? Or, if you don’t like this idea at all, what Rockies player(s) should be immortalized outside Coors Field?