This is the fourth article in a series that looks at the five best players at each position for the Colorado Rockies. In this installment are the outfielders.
The rarified air of Mile High Stadium and Coors Field helped create quite a few power hitters through the years, with many ending on this list of best Colorado outfielders. In addition to production, several of the star players also were capable of playing multiple positions effectively, making sure the Rockies could match up against any opponent.
The Best Outfielders in Colorado Rockies History
Honorable Mentions – Jay Payton spent two seasons with the Rockies in 2002-03 and returned for one more season in 2010. He hit .302 and set career highs with 28 home runs and 99 RBIs in 2003. Payton batted .311 with 250 hits in 224 games with Colorado.
Nicknamed “Mr. Late Night” due to his late-inning performances, Seth Smith played 190 games in left field and 155 in right during his five-year stint in Colorado (2007-11). He batted .275 with 354 hits, 51 home runs and 191 RBIs in 487 games. Smith added four hits, two runs scored and two RBIs in nine playoff games and went 1-for-2 in the 2007 World Series.
5. Gerardo Parra – He spent three years with Colorado (2016-18), but had his best years in Arizona, where he played in the 2008 MLB Futures Game, won two gold gloves and was named the Wilson Overall Defensive Player of the Year in 2013).
With the Rockies, Parra hit .309 in 2017 and set career highs with 10 home runs and 71 runs batted in. He batted .283 with 328 hits and 163 RBIs in 359 games in Colorado and added six hits, two runs and an RBI in four playoff games.
4. Raimel Tapia – The two-time MLB Futures Game participant spent six seasons with Colorado (2016-21), hitting .280 with 370 hits, 19 home runs and 136 RBIs in 359 games. Tapia had a single in his only playoff at-bat with the Rockies during the 2017 Wild Card round again the Diamondbacks. He has played for three teams in the past two seasons and is currently with the Brewers.
3. Carlos Gonzalez – He was a two-time MLB Futures Game participant in the Blue Jays organization before being traded to the Athletics and then the Rockies in the span of a year. Gonzalez spent his first six seasons with Colorado in left field, earning two All-Star selections, three gold gloves, a silver slugger and a Wilson Defensive Player Award.
His best season was 2010, when he led the National League with a .336 average, 197 hits and 351 total bases and set career highs with 111 runs, 34 home runs, 117 runs batted in and 26 stolen bases.
Gonzalez batted .290 over 10 seasons with the Rockies (2009-18), and he ranks third in franchise history in games played (1,247), fourth in runs (769), hits (1,330), doubles (277) and stolen bases (188) and fifth in triples (39), home runs (227) and RBIs (749). He played just 45 games with the Indians and Cubs in the 2019 season before retiring.
2. Dante Bichette – He was a four-time All-Star during his seven seasons with the expansion Rockies (1993-99). Bichette smacked at least 20 home runs in each season with Colorado, hit .300 or better six times (with .298 in 1999 being the only miss) and drove in more than 100 runs in five straight years.
Bichette’s best season was 1995, when he won a silver slugger and finished second in the MVP voting after hitting a career-high .340 with 102 runs and league-best totals of 197 hits, 40 home runs, 128 runs batted in, a .620 slugging percentage and 359 total bases. The following year, he hit .313 with 31 homers and a career-high 141 RBIs.
Bichette again led the league in hits in 1998 with 219, a mark that also set a team record. He ranks third in franchise history in RBIs (826), tied for third in average (.316), fifth in runs (655), hits (1,278), doubles (270) and steals (105), sixth in total bases (2,187), seventh in home runs (201) and eighth in games (1,018). Despite the Rockies losing to the Braves in the 1995 Division Series, Bichette was a star, going 10-for-17 with six runs, three doubles, a homer and three RBIs.
1. Matt Holliday – He spent six seasons in Colorado (2004-08 and 16), and he earned All-Star and silver slugger honors three straight years from 2006-08. Holliday ranks second in franchise history with a .319 average, ninth in doubles (190) and tenth in runs (482), hits (863), RBIs (486) and total bases (1,489). He also hit 130 home runs in 723 games with the Rockies.
Holliday’s best season might also have been the best the team has had in their 31-year history. In 2007, he led the league with a .340 average, 216 hits, 50 doubles, 137 RBIs and 386 total bases and also set career highs with 120 runs and 36 home runs. He also was named MVP of the National League Championship Series after going 5-for-15 with three runs scored, two home runs and five RBIs. Overall, he had 15 hits, six runs, five homers and 10 RBIs in 15 playoff games.
Holliday was sent to the Athletics in the trade that brought Carlos Gonzalez to the Rockies. He was quickly sent to St. Louis, where he spent the next eight years and went to the World Series twice, helping the Cardinals with a world championship in 2011. After one season with the Yankees, Holliday returned to play 25 games with the Rockies in 2018 before he retired.
Honorable Mention – Willy Taveras spent two seasons with the Rockies, hitting .320 in 2007 and setting a team record with a league-leading 68 stolen bases the following year. He ranks sixth in franchise history with 101 steals and batted .281 with 239 hits in 230 games. Taveras had three hits, four runs an RBI and a stolen base in seven games in the 2007 playoffs.
5. Juan Pierre – Like Taveras, he was a speedster who spent a short time with the Rockies. Pierre played his first three seasons with Colorado (2000-02), and he ranks sixth in average (.308) and tied for seventh in stolen bases (100). He also had 224 runs, 434 hits and 110 RBIs in 359 games. Pierre led the league with 46 steals in 2001, and he also had 202 hits and set career highs with a .327 average, 108 runs scored and 55 runs batted in. He followed that with 47 stolen bases in 2002.
Starting in Colorado, Pierre went on a streak where he stole at least 40 bases nine times in 10 seasons and led the league three times, including a career-high 68 with the White Sox in 2010. Pierre was a starter on Florida’s 2003 championship team and totaled 614 stolen bases in 14 seasons, which ranks 18th in Major League history.
4. Preston Wilson – Another player who appeared with both early 1990s expansion teams, Mookie Wilson’s son went the opposite direction as Pierre, going from the Marlins to the Rockies in the 2003 trade. Wilson had a career-best season that year, earning his only All-Star selection after leading the league with 141 runs batted in and setting career highs with a .282 average, 94 runs, 169 hits, 43 doubles and 36 home runs.
Wilson was traded to the Nationals during the 2005 season and split the following year between the Astros and Cardinals, winning the title with St. Lous. He played just 25 games with the Cardinals in 2007 before his 10-year career came to an end.
3. Dexter Fowler – He played in the 2008 MLB Futures Game and made 13 appearances with the Rockies later in the year. Fowler topped the National League with 14 triples in 2010 and, while his 15 the following year did not lead the league, the total did set a team record.
Fowler ranks second in franchise history with 53 triples and ninth with 83 stolen bases. He batted .270 with 376 runs, 606 hits and 210 RBIs in 667 games over six seasons (2008-13). Fowler went 3-for-14 with a run scored and two RBIs in the 2009 Division Series. He earned his only All-Star selection in 2016 and hit two home runs, including one that led off Game 7, to help the Cubs break their championship drought.
2. Ellis Burks – The former All-Star and gold glove winner as a member of the Red Sox spent five seasons with the Rockies (1994-98). Burks had his best season in 1996, when he earned his only All-Star and silver slugger selections with Colorado. He led the league with 142 runs, a .639 slugging percentage and 392 total bases and set career highs with a .344 average, 211 hits, 45 doubles, 40 home runs and 128 runs batted in to finish third in the MVP race.
Burks ranks sixth in franchise history with a .306 average, and he amassed 361 runs, 558 hits, 115 home runs and 337 RBIs in 520 games. He went 2-for-6 with a run scored and two RBIs in the 1995 National League Division Series. Burks was traded to San Francisco in 1998 and spent three seasons each with the Giants and Indians before returning to the Red Sox for one final year in 2004.
1. Charlie Blackmon – Sporting his signature beard, he has been a fixture at Coors Field for the past 13 years (2011-present). After a stint in left field, Blackmon sandwiched a four-year run in center field in between six seasons as a right fielder. He was a two-time All-Star and a two-time silver slugger during that time (2015-18).
Blackmon’s best season was 2017, when he finished fifth in the MVP voting after a season in which he led the league with a .331 average, 137 runs, 213 hits, 14 triples and 387 total bases to go along with career-high totals of 37 home runs and 104 runs batted in. He also stole 43 bases in 2015 and led the league with 119 runs in 2018.
“Chuck Nazty” is the all-time franchise leader with 62 triples, and he ranks second in games played (1,480), runs (928), hits (1,670), doubles (302), steals (139) and total bases (2,738), sixth in home runs (214), tied for sixth in RBIs (745) and tenth in average (.296). The 2018 fielding champion has two hits, a run scored and two RBIs in five career postseason games.
Honorable Mentions – Jeffrey Hammonds played for six teams in his 13-year career and was selected as an All-Star in 2000, his only season with Colorado. That year, he hit 20 home runs and set career highs with a .335 average, 94 runs, 152 hits and 106 runs batted in.
Michael Cuddyer spent his first 11 seasons with the Twins, earning his first All-Star selection in his final year in Minnesota in 2011. During his three-year stint with Colorado (2012-13), he went to the All-Star Game one more time in 2013, when he hit 20 home runs, drove in 84 runs and won the batting title after hitting .331. Cuddyer batted .307 with 318 hits, 46 homers and 173 RBIs in 280 games with the Rockies. He finished his career with the Mets and played in the 2015 World Series.
David Dahl spent four seasons with the Rockies (2016 and 18-20), missing all of 2017 when he fractured a rib in spring training and developed back spasms during recovery. The 2018 All-Star batted .286 with 268 hits 38 home runs and 142 RBIs in 264 games with Colorado. Dahl spent most of 2021 with the Rangers, split the following season between the Brewers and Nationals minor league systems and played briefly with the Padres this season before signing a minor league contract with the Dodgers in June.
5. Dante Bichette – While he spent more time in left field, he still had some productive seasons in right. He earned a pair of All-Star selections during his three seasons at the position (1993-94 and 96) and finished second in the league in fielding percentage in 1994. Bichette batted .310 with 281 runs, 512 hits, 115 doubles, 81 home runs and 325 RBIs in 416 games as a right fielder.
4. Charlie Blackmon – While he made his mark in center field, he spent more time in right. Blackmon was selected to a pair of All-Star Games during his six seasons at the position (2012-14 and 19-21). The 2020 fielding champion batted .294 with 351 runs, 667 hits, 131 doubles, 78 home runs and 309 RBIs in 627 games. Blackmon has spent the past two seasons as Colorado’s designated hitter.
3. Brad Hawpe – He spent seven of his nine seasons in Colorado (2004-10), where he posted four straight seasons with at least 20 home runs and 80 runs batted in. Hawpe earned his only All-Star selection in 2009, but he best season statistically was two years prior. In 2007, he hit .291 and set career highs with 29 home runs and 116 RBIs.
Hawpe batted .280 overall with 372 runs, 749 hits, 166 doubles, 118 homers and 464 RBIs in 816 games. The 2006 fielding champion had 11 hits, four runs scored and four RBIs in 13 career postseason games, including four hits, a homer and two runs batted in during the 2007 World Series.
2. Carlos Gonzalez – One of the many versatile players in the Colorado outfield, he spent his final four seasons with the club in right field (2015-18). Gonzalez won a silver slugger in 2015 after hitting a career-high 40 home runs and driving in 97 runs. The following year, he made the All-Star team after hitting .298 with 25 homers and 100 RBIs, reaching the century mark for the second time in his career.
Gonzalez batted .278 with 317 runs, 575 hits, 133 doubles, 95 home runs and 318 RBIs in 571 games at the position. He had four hits, a triple and an RBI in five playoff games during his time in right field.
1. Larry Walker – Like first baseman Andres Galarraga, Walker came to the Rockies from the Expos and the thin air of Colorado helped him launch his career into the stratosphere. Unlike Galarraga, Walker wanted to play hockey first, but decided to pursue baseball instead after not getting very many offers. In his 10 seasons in the Mile High City (1995-2004), Walker batted over .300 eight times, scored at least 100 runs four times, had 40 or more doubles three times, smacked at least 30 home runs four times and drove in 100 or more runs in five seasons.
Walker missed part of the 1996 season with a broken collarbone, but he returned the following year to win the National League MVP Award and get selected to his first of four All-Star Games with the club. That year, he hit .366, set career highs with 143 runs, 208 hits, 46 doubles, 130 RBIs and 33 stolen bases, and led the league with 49 home runs, a .452 on-base percentage, a .720 slugging percentage and 409 total bases. Walker’s runs and total bases marks set team records and his home run total tied for the single season franchise record.
He won three batting titles as a member of the Rockies, including 1999, when he set the franchise record with a .379 average and also led the league with a .458 on-base percentage and a .710 slugging percentage. In addition, he also earned five gold gloves and two silver slugger awards. Walker missed about half the 2000 season with elbow issues but returned the next year to hit a league-best .350.
Walker is the all-time franchise leader with a .334 average, a .426 on-base percentage and a .618 slugging percentage. He ranks second in team history in home runs (258) and RBIs (848), third in runs (892), hits (1,361), doubles (297), steals (126) and total bases (2,520) and fourth in games played (1,170) and triples (44).
He played with the Rockies during their first playoff series, totaling three hits, three runs, one home run and three RBIs in the loss to the Braves in the 1995 Division Series. Walker was traded to the Cardinals during the 2004 season and hit two home runs in the loss to the Red Sox. He ended his 17-year career in 2005 and coached Canada in the World Baseball Classic and Pan American games since retiring as a player. Walker became the first and only Rockies player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame when he earned that honor in 2020.
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