There are a couple of guys I’d like to forget ever played in a Rockies uniform. Perhaps chief among these is one Dennis Edward Neagle, who was signed by the Rockies for about eleventy billion dollars. He came to the team in 2001 and was going to be the ace. For that kind of money, he was going to be the awesomest ace we’d ever had. Instead? Three seasons, 369 1/3 innings pitched, and 229 earned runs allowed. Thanks for the memories Denny! You were not good.
Before Neagle was a Rockie, however, he was a lot of other things, and he was more or less good at all of them, which is why we threw the big money at him. He was drafted by the Twins but only wore their uniform for about a minute. He was traded to the Pirates in 1992, and he was in the Steel City Buccaneer uniform when he encountered the Rockies for the first time.
The day was June 4th, 1993. The place, Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, a lovely ballpark if you’ve never been there. Neagle had only recently been converted to a starter, and he entered the game with a 1-1 record and a 4.50 ERA. “You don’t scare us!” the Rockies shouted as they proceeded to go up 1-0 in the 1st inning. Jerald Clark scored from 2nd on a pop fly single by Chris Jones; Clark was on 2nd to begin with thanks to a wild pitch by Neagle.
The battle continued from there. Neagle threw two more wild pitches, though these didn’t result in any runs being scored. And the running! Do you remember when the Rockies used to try to steal five, six bases in a single GAME? That is what they did in this game. They were successful three times and unsuccessful three times – though, let’s be honest, all three of the times they were caught they were stealing 2nd, and Joe West was the umpire there.
Unfortunately, despite the Rockies’ determination and Neagle’s lack of muscle control, the Pirates won this game 4-1. Colorado’s pitchers just weren’t up to the task. Willie Blair was responsible for all 4 runs, which he gave up in the 6 innings he was allowed to pitch. Darren Holmes pitched a pair of perfect innings, but by then it was too late.
Neagle didn’t go the distance, but he did stay in for 6 innings, and thus took the win. He also saw his ERA drop below 4.00. So you’re welcome Denny. That game was our gift to you, since the billions clearly weren’t enough. We hope you enjoyed it.