41’s Inside Pitch: Which former Rockies should have their number retired at Coors Field? Start with Don Baylor


The Colorado Rockies will celebrate their 30th anniversary this spring, and if past anniversary’s are any indication, several big names from the past will be on hand to help.

Only two of those former greats – and there have been many – have had their numbers retired at Coors Field: Todd Helton’s #17 and Larry Walker’s #33.

Retiring numbers – acknowledging the great players from the three decade history – has not been a Rockies organizational strength to this point. For example, for whatever reason, they waited until after Walker had been voted into baseball’s Hall of Fame before honoring him themselves. At least they honored Helton sooner rather than later. They’ve seemed reluctant to hand out the honor to even those who are obviously deserving of it. Why?

Along with Jackie Robinson’s iconic #42 and the initials “KSM” for the late team President Keli McGregor, there are just four men honored on a full time basis at the ballpark at 20th and Blake.

There should be more. Several more.

That list should begin with the late great Don Baylor, who’s #25 should be enshrined and honored. “Groove” as he was known, was the Rockies first Manager, and those of us who were fortunate enough to know him can say without hesitation that he was a better person than he was a baseball player or coach. Still, as a Manager he certainly deserves to be honored for the leadership he provided in taking a team in just it’s third year of existence to the National League playoffs, where they put a major league scare into the eventual World Series winning Atlanta Braves.

No Rockie should ever wear #25 again.

After that, it’s not quite as easy. There are a lot of names to choose from. All time Rockies.

Andrés Galarraga. Dante Bichette. Vinny Castilla. Ellis Burks…the Blake Street Bombers as they were known.

Matt Holiday. Troy Tulowitzki. Garrett Atkins. Brad Hawpe. The World Series team.

Carlos Gonzalez. Jorge De La Rosa. Huston Street. Playoff teams.

Charlie Blackmon. No brainer, right?

Nolan Arenado…who’s likely to go down as the GOAT of third baseman. Trevor Story. Both will likely challenge Helton for the best Wins Above Replacement total by a player who wore the purple by the time each is done playing.

They can’t ALL have their numbers retired. (Although the team could create a Walk of Fame or something like that at say, McGregor’s Square?) Who is the most deserving?

Galarraga is the most decorated of the Bombers, with five All-Star appearances, a batting title, a home run title, two RBI titles, and two Gold Gloves (which should have been a lot more.) His #14 should be retired.

Castilla’s #9 – which he still dons from time to time – should also be honored, both for his ample success on the field – he has more career home runs than any other Mexican born major leaguer – and for his service to the organization all these years.

Tulowitzki’s time in Denver didn’t end well. There remain lingering resentments over the way he was sent packing in the summer of 2015 by then GM Jeff Bridich. But his numbers speak for themselves. He has the fourth best WAR in club history (39.5 – only Helton, Walker and Arenado are better to this point) and only injuries kept him from compiling even greater numbers. He was a five-time All-Star, and won two Gold Gloves (should have been more) and two Silver Sluggers. He was robbed of the 2007 Rookie of the Year award to boot.

Retire #2.

People tend to forget that Holiday was traded for Cargo. Talk about a win-win trade! Both of these great Rockies should be forever honored at Coors Field. Problem is…they both wore #5…so what do you do?

Simple: Two displays, same retired number. No one wears the purple #5 again.

You can’t mothball ever number worn by a former Rockies All-Star, but those four: 25, 14, 9 and 5 (x2) should be immediately retired. There’s no reason not to.

And get ready to put #28 and #19 up there, too. Both Arenado and Blackmon need to be forever remembered as among the best players to ever wear purple pinstripes. Perhaps Story too, one day.

The Broncos, Nuggets and Avalanche franchises have no qualms about retiring numbers and honoring greats from the past. And while the Rockies history isn’t as deep as many some other franchises, after three decades, there is enough history, and enough time has passed that they’re due. The coming season 30th Anniversary season would be a great time to honor more of the outstanding men who have called 20th and Blake their home park.

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