Late ’90s Colorado Rockies. Those squads could really pack a punch. Couldn’t pitch for sh*t and routinely finished in the cellar of the NL West, but they could really pound it. Todd Helton. Larry Walker. Vinny Castilla. Dante Bichette. Terry Shumpert! Check out that year Terry Shumpert had in 1999. He hit .347 with a .997 OPS! The guy played 14 seasons. Only year he hit over .300 and he made it count. Sure, half of these guys were probably on the juice and Coors Field helped a little too, but who cares. Baseball was a blast in the late ’90s. The 1999 Colorado Rockies also once sported these gems:
They weren’t wearing those on this day 17 years ago at Wrigley Field, but the Rockies still managed to unleash a seemingly routine 13-6 onslaught against the hapless Cubs. The 13-6 final was anything but routine though because the Rockies became just the third team in MLB history to score a run in every single inning and the first since the 1964 St. Louis Cardinals.
Only three teams did that in the nearly 100 year existence of Major League Baseball up to that point. Pretty remarkable. The 1999 Rockies were the perfect team to do it too. They had four guys with 30+ home runs and 100 RBIs that season (Walker, Helton, Castilla, Bichette). These guys just murdered the baseball. Larry Walker was absolutely phenomenal as he hit .379 which is the highest batting average recorded since the MLB strike. That’s some good trivia there. He also hit 37 home runs and had 115 RBIs. His 115 RBIs didn’t even lead the team though as Dante Bichette put together a 133 RBI campaign. The 72 win Rockies finished the season with 906 runs which was only two runs less than the 100 win Arizona Diamondbacks.
There was a reason that they only won 72 games though. Their pitching was absolutely horrific. Like look at this sh*t:
I mean, that’s horrifying. Pedro Astacio was their best pitcher and somehow managed to go 17-11 with a 5.06 ERA. Jamey Wright and David Lee (not the basketball player I presume) were the only two pitchers with an ERA under 5! On the entire team!
And John Thomson. Poor John Thomson. This guy was just thrown to the wolves. 1-10 with an 8.04 ERA. You would’ve thought that the Rockies would’ve pulled the plug on this guy after his first five starts resulted in 16.1 innings pitched and 25 earned runs.
Back to the actual game of conversation, the Rockies only hit one home run and it was a solo blast by the great Neifi Perez off of starter Terry Mulholland who was rocked for six earned runs in five innings of work. Larry Walker went 3 for 5 with four runs and was a home run shy of the cycle. Dante Bichette tacked on four hits, three runs, and two RBIs as well. Todd Helton didn’t even start this historic game as Kurt Abbott filled in at first. Pedro Astacio got one of his 17 wins despite letting up home runs to Sammy Sosa and Gary Gaetti “and Meatballs.” Eight innings pitched, six earned runs, 10 hits, and 11 strikeouts must have just been a vintage 1999 Pedro Astacio pitching line. You don’t see eight innings, six earned too much anymore.
Damn, the Rockies were a ton of fun. They scored tons of runs and let up tons of runs. That’s vintage steroid era baseball. Good times. Bring back the juice!