Today, we tackle the ever-difficult challenge of not mentioning the pandemic throughout the course of an entire article. And what better place to start than reliving the glory that was Todd Helton’s 2000 season?
I personally think that fifth place in MVP voting is a little low for a season that included 42 homers, a .372 average, a .463 on-base percentage, and a .689 slugging percentage. And the most impressive of it all: five stolen bases!
If you’re anything like me, you probably jumped immediately to read the Rockies section of the article but it was still fun to go back and see the winner for every team. Lots of great seasons to go around so far this century.
Last week we at Purple Row took on a variety of “what if” articles and CBS Sports went ahead and looked at the biggest “what if” for every NL team since the beginning of the 21st century...sensing a pattern here?
Unfortunately, the “what if” format tends to lend itself to topics that do not make us as happy as the wonder years of Todd Helton’s peak. In this case, they remind us of the unfortunate luck that derailed Troy Tulowitzki’s career.
It’s easy to forget that by the end of his age 26 season, Tulo had already put up a WAR of six in four seasons, something only four other shortstops before him had achieved. Add five MVP finishes in two seasons on top and Tulo was arguably one of the best players in the game during his the early part of his career. The team success was there too as he led the team to a World Series trip in 2007 and a franchise high 92 wins in 2009. Injuries took over by 2012, but Tulo will forever remain high up in the world of Rockies greats.
While Tulo was a staple in the Rockies starting lineup every day he was healthy, there have been no shortage of Rockies players who made a big impact off the bench...
When I think of “off-the-bench success,” I think of consistently getting the job done at the plate while getting fewer opportunities than the starters.
Let’s get this going with the guy who has the seventh most pinch-hits in MLB history. That would be John Vander Wall who came over from the Montreal Expos with a certain Larry Walker. Vander Wall may be the lesser known name of that duo but that’s not to say he didn’t make an impact. His 28 pinch-hits during the 1995 campaign still stand as the single-season record. He stayed with the team through the 1997 season at which point that same Todd Helton guy cemented himself as the go to first baseman to replace Andrés Galarraga.
You’ll have to go to the article to see the other three on the list, but it’s hard to not mention the player occupying the fourth slot here. Over the course of 174 pinch-hit at bats with the team, this guy swung to the tune of a .305 batting average and a .411 on-base percentage. While a fourth place showing here is quite the accomplishment, it falls a little behind his usual spot as number one on a ranking of Rockies broadcasters — ladies and gentlemen, this legend is the one and only Ryan Spilborghs!
And you can’t beat ending a Rockpile thinking about “Spilly.”
★ ★ ★
Purple Row is a space for fans from across the world to come together and talk about baseball. We are a non-political, non-partisan baseball fan site. There has not been a strict no-politics policy until this point, but going forward, we will ask community members to refrain from addressing political topics unless they are directly related to baseball. We all need to stick together in these challenging and frustrating times, and hopefully baseball will return soon! Thank you.