A lot can happen in 10 years.
Earlier this week, Charlie Blackmon, the longest-tenured Rockie on the current team, reached a milestone that only a small percentage of players in MLB history actually reach. It’s been a season of milestones for Blackmon and the reason he’s been able to do that is due to the fact that he has reached 10 years of service time at the big league level. He becomes just the second Rockie in team history to accumulate all his service time with the club, joining Todd Helton in that exclusive club. In honor of one of the father-like figures of this era of Rockies baseball, let’s look back on the moments and history of Charles Cobb Blackmon.
2011-2013: Good Luck Charlie
In an otherwise insignificant game in San Diego in June 2011, the Rockies selected the contract of Blackmon from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Blackmon had been chilling in a hot tub after a game when he got the call that he was heading to the big leagues.
Selected by the Rockies in the second round of the 2008 draft, he had toiled away in the minor leagues, proving that he had a knack for swinging the bat and hitting for a quality average, and getting on base. His hard work finally paid off and on June 7, 2011, he made his debut in San Diego going 0-for-3 on the day. However, he would quickly notch a number of firsts over the next month including his first career home run on July 1, his 25th birthday. Things looked bright for the young outfielder, as he battled for playing time, but then disaster struck.
While rounding second base and heading to third on a Jonathan Herrera base hit, Blackmon broke his foot. The freak accident ended his season as he would remain on the shelf for a long while. He would start 2012 in Colorado Springs rehabbing and getting regular playing time, but another freak accident of a turf toe would sideline him once again, and he wouldn’t appear back in the big leagues until August 2012.
Once again in 2013, due to the lack of opportunity with Dexter Fowler in the outfield, Blackmon bounced up and down for much of the season, until he was called up for good in July of 2013. In 82 games Blackmon slashed .309/.336/.467 with 25 extra-base hits, including six home runs, one of which was an absolute blast to Eutaw Street in Baltimore.
It was a testament to his resilience as he was able to conquer each setback, and make the most of the opportunities he was given, a trend that he continued year after year since, which includes plenty of great moments we will go through now.
2014: The Beard Man Cometh
After Fowler was traded following the 2013 season, the door was open for Charlie Blackmon to fight for a regular spot. Despite the acquisition of Drew Stubbs, a veteran that was expected to likely get more playing time, Blackmon got the start on Opening Day in 2014. Featuring a new baby beard, Blackmon put in a crazy day at the plate against the Arizona Diamondbacks going 6-for-6 with a home run and three doubles.
He joined Ty Cobb, Jimmie Foxx, Edgardo Alfonzo, and Shawn Green, as the only players in MLB history to have six hits, five RBI, and four extra-base hits in a single game. The performance cemented Blackmon as an everyday starter and he never looked back and was later named an All-Star in July.
2015: I Am Speed, Ka-Chuck!
Blackmon continued to crush baseballs in 2015, but he also began utilizing his speed on the basepaths, swiping a whopping 43 bags, the last time he would steal more than 20 bases in a season. Chuck’s dominance at the top of the lineup was unmatched, and being able to swipe bags in a lost art that the Rockies don’t utilize as much anymore.
2017: A Historic Season
After winning his first Silver Slugger in 2016, Blackmon turned things up a notch in 2017 to help lead the Rockies to their first postseason berth since 2009. He ended up winning the batting title that season with a .331 AVG and he became the first player in history to lead the major leagues in hits (213), runs scored (137), triples (14), and total bases (383) in the same season. He also set an MLB record for most RBIs out of the leadoff spot in a single season with 102. He had plenty of accolades that season, including a career-high 37 home runs, but he also participated in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game. Sure he lost to Cody Bellinger, but it was still a fun time for Chuck to show his stuff.
2018: A Cycle For Good Measure
After signing a six-year extension to start the season, Blackmon ended the 2018 season with a bang, as he helped secure a tiebreaker matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers for the division crown by hitting for the cycle against the Washington Nationals in the last game of the season. Blackmon went 4-for-5 on the day with three RBI, and led the league with 119 runs scored in his third All-Star season.
2019: A 15-hit parade
He was named an All-Star once again in 2019 for the Rockies, but perhaps one of the most incredible and historic performances came during a four-game set against the Padres in June. Blackmon became the first player in the Modern Era (since 1900) to record 15 hits in a four-game series, and just the third player with 15 hits in a single series since World War II. He also just came shy of being the first player since 1925 to record four straight four-hit games but came away with just three in the finale of that series.
2020: A Grand Ole Time
Blackmon got off to a very hot start in 2020 when he was nearly batting .500 in the early weeks before coming back down to Earth in the latter part of the shortened season. Despite the Rockies' collapse in the second half of that season, Chuck provided a notable highlight that many of us still think about. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and the game tied at four against the Los Angeles Angels, Blackmon blasted a ball to the Rockies bullpen and became the second Rockie to ever hit a walk-off grand slam, joining fellow number 19, Ryan Spilborghs.
2021-Present: Chuck’s Children and beyond
With the exodus of some of Colorado’s stars in the past couple of years, and an influx of new blood and younger players, Charlie Blackmon has become the new Todd Helton constant. Blackmon has quietly moved into the second slot in many of Colorado’s offensive franchise records, trailing only Helton in many of those categories. He has become the heart and soul of a franchise in a new decade of Rockies baseball. While the signs of time and age have been made evident in Charlie Blackmon, he is still an important cog in a team that desperately is searching for an answer to how to win.
His knowledge and dedication to the game is something all Rockies hitters should strive to emulate. Out of obscurity, Charlie Blackmon carved a name for himself in the annals of baseball history, and while he may never get into the Hall of Fame, he will go down as one of the best Colorado Rockies in history and will surely have his number enshrined with the likes of Todd Helton and Larry Walker when all is said and done. Perseverance and spectacular success are at the heart of the ballad of Charlie Blackmon.
★ ★ ★
Our pals over at Rox Pile talked about the changes that need to happen with the Rockies, particularly with their hitting philosophy, in order to address some of the woes that have plagued them for several years now. Noah Yingling runs it down in the article and includes their own podcast conversation that you should check out as well.
★ ★ ★
On the Farm
In the first game of the doubleheader, the Isotopes utilized six pitchers to navigate a back and forth affair that resulted in a walk-off single to take home the victory. José Ureña labored through 3 1⁄3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out three and walking three. Coco Montes tallied three knocks in the game while Jonathan Morales went 4-for-4 with a game winning single in the seventh. Elehuris Montero slugged his first triple of the season, while LJ Hatch launched his third homer.
It was a long night for Albuquerque, but after the clock struck midnight they were able to win the second game of the doubleheader in strong fashion. Riley Smith tossed all seven innings and gave up just four hits while striking out seven batters. Ryan Vilade notched his 500th professional hit with a double in the fourth inning while Elehuris Montero extended his hit streak to 14 games and blasted his 13th home run of the year in Triple-A.
Strong pitching and some timely hitting late in the game helped Hartford secure another victory against Akron. Michael Baird started on the hill for Hartford and recorded a quality start allowing three runs on four hits in six innings with eight punchouts. The only blemishes on his line were the two home runs he allowed. Riley Pint tossed a pair of scoreless innings and Gavin Hollowell nailed down his ninth save of the year. Jimmy Herron and Michael Toglia both had multi-hit nights while Daniel Montano hit his third home run of the season and Ezequiel Tovar scored two of Hartford’s four runs.
Joe Rock dominated in a pitching duel tossing seven innings of one-run ball allowing just four hits. He now has a 3.32 ERA on the season and notched his sixth win of the season. Spokane managed to break a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning thanks to a pair of home runs from Julio Carreras and Bladimir Restituyo to make it a 3-1 game.
In an uncharacteristic start, the youngster Victor Juarez took the loss after he was roughed up for seven runs on six hits in four innings of work. Despite striking out six batters, San Jose managed a pair of two-run homers to help propel the offense. Fresno managed a hit from all but three starters, but no one was able to string together multiple hits. A three-run third inning was all they could manage to tie the game, but the pitching was unable to hold the lead as San Jose scored in every inning from the fourth on.
★ ★ ★
Please keep in mind our Purple Row Community Guidelines when you’re commenting. Thanks!