Former Colorado Rockies Infielder Terry Shumpert


The former Colorado Rockies’ utility man is still in the Denver area, with a very special athlete for a son who may eclipse his father’s ability in baseball. 

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Colorado Rockies fans ought to remember Terry Shumpert. The utility infielder/pinch-hitter played with the Colorado Rockies from 1998 through 2002, amassing a .282/.349/.463 slash line with 30 home runs and 46 doubles in 450 games. The University of Kentucky product enjoyed a 14-year big league career, earning 2,214 plate appearances, more than half of which (1,165) were for the Rockies.

The best single season of his big league career also came with the Rockies in 1999, when he slashed .347/.413/.584 in 92 games (304 PAs) with 26 doubles, three triples, 10 home runs, and 31 walks against just 41 strikeouts. I know, everybody hit in 1999; the Rockies as a team slashed .288/.348/.472 that year with 223 home runs and 305 doubles. But still.

Shumpert was the epitome of whom a National League club needs to carry on their bench. Over five years with the Rox, Shumpert played every single position on the field except for pitcher and catcher, with most of his time coming at second base, third base, and in left field.

Drafted by the Royals in 1987, Shumpert also spent time with the Red Sox, Cubs, Padres, and Devil Rays during his career, and went to Spring Training with the Dodgers one year but was released before the season. All told, he hit .252 with 49 home runs in 854 big league games, and finally retired after 214 plate appearances with AAA Nashville in the Pirates’ organization in 2004, as a 37-year old.

Shumpert was traded once in his career (for “future considerations”), granted free agency six times, and released another four times. That doesn’t say much about him as a player — more so about what it means to be a utility player in professional baseball — but that’s a lot of player movement in a very long career. (And you think you want to play professional baseball, dear reader?)

Shumpert’s career was an interesting one to follow, because he wasn’t always a utility guy; most big league utility men, of course, were college and/or minor league stars, and Shumpert’s path is no different. He was a first-team All-SEC selection in 1986 and 1987, and enjoyed an All-American nod in ’87 as well while at the University of Kentucky.

Then, drafted in the second round in ’87, Shumpert shot through the Royals’ system while ranking as a top-ten prospect in both 1989 (#9) and 1990 (#6).

He got a shot at an everyday second base job in 1991 with the big league club, but only slashed .217/.283/.322 in 418 plate appearances, and in the next three seasons, he only appeared in 108 total games before his big league journey began.

The notable Where Are They Now aspect to Shumpert’s career isn’t really him; there is little online about his post-playing career, but he was named as an SEC Baseball Legend in 2013.

Rather, it’s Shumpert’s son Nicholas — a Highlands Ranch High School product and University of Kentucky baseball commit — who’s making news with the Shumpert name.

Shumpert the Younger was drafted in the seventh round last month by the Detroit Tigers, making him the second-highest drafted Colorado baseball player this season.

His dad was pretty straight forward about whether the youngster would sign or go to college, telling the Denver Post he was going to join the Tigers.

As of July 11, the younger Shumpert remains unsigned by the Tigers. In fact, he’s the only one of their top 17 draft picks who hasn’t been signed, though a slow negotiation process for a high schooler committed to a major college isn’t necessarily unusual.

Here’s his Perfect Game profile. And here’s a video of him, with pops:

Judging by his size and scouting profile, Nicholas may parallel the middle infield/utility career path of his father.

[Image via UK Baseball.]

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