Growing up in Denver I cannot tell you how many times my dad received a Father’s Day gift of three Rockies Rock-pile tickets from my little brother and me. Obviously the games were not always at Coors Field and we would sometimes settle for the weekend after the holiday, but it happened more often than not.
The Rockies are not the cream of the crop when it comes to history or performance. They are only twenty years old and have had some pretty bad years. Plus in baseball the law of averages usually wins. So it was not surprising to learn that the Rockies had a Father’s Day record of 9-11. It is better than the club’s Mother’s Day record of 8-13, but since the Rockies have recently lost more than just a few games with a rash of bumps, bruises and broken ribs, let’s talk positivity.
In no particular order, here are the three best Father’s Day games in Rockies history:
1. Sunday June 20th, 1993. Rockies beat the Padres 3-1. In my family sports meant John Elway and the Broncos. The Rockies were a novelty. Colorado newspapers printed “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” because Coloradans didn’t know it. This game is first, at least chronologically, because it meant victory on the first Father’s Day in Rockies history. A Vinny Castilla home run helped the Rockies to victory in a close divisional game against San Diego. Reliever Steve Reed was credited with the win.
2.Sunday June 14th, 1998. Rockies beat the Dodgers 3-2 in 12 innings. So it’s another N.L. West opponent…I’m partial to seeing them lose, especially to the Rockies. This game featured Pedro Astacio, the first Rockies pitcher to figure out how to maintain a job at Coors Field with a curveball in his arsenal. Astacio threw nine innings and gave up only one run on three hits while striking out six. Larry Walker homered in the third inning. 1998 was the season that Walker won the first of his three batting titles. With the game tied 1-1, rookie Todd Helton drove in two runs in the top of the 12th inning. Helton would later finish second in the Rookie of the Year voting to Kerry Wood of the Cubs by only nine points. The bullpen would make it even more interesting and give up one more run in the bottom of the inning, but Helton’s heroics held strong.
3. Sunday June 18th, 2000. Rockies beat the Diamondbacks 19-2. This one is special to me personally, I was there on Father’s Day with my dad and little brother. The Rockies absolutely crushed the Diamondbacks. Normally there would not be more to it than that, but this day made a mark on baseball history. Rockies second baseman Mike Lansing hit for the cycle. Mathematically there is a 0.0044% chance of a player hitting for the cycle in a game (according to Fangraphs.com). That’s not all: slow-moving catcher Brent Mayne was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle himself, though he was forced to settle for a second double. The Rockies also blew up pitcher Omar Daal for eight runs in 1.1 innings of relief. Daal would become the first pitcher in seven seasons to lose at least 19 games. The Rockies finished the game with four homers, five doubles, and one triple to total 23 hits.
Father’s Day notes: Larry Walker leads the team in both hits (12) and home runs (5) on Fathers Day. 13 of the 20 games played by the Rockies on Father’s Day have been decided by three runs or fewer. The Rockies’ winningest pitcher on Father’s Day is lefty Brian Bohanon. Rockies Manager Walt Weiss had a four game Father’s Day hitting streak as a Rockies shortstop from 1994-1997.
To all those Fathers out there: Happy Father’s Day, even if you are not a Rockies fan.