Colorado Rockies’ Old Friend Clint Barmes And What Might Have Been

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Apr 20, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies catcher N. Hundley (4) loses his helmet sliding into second against San Diego Padres shortstop C. Barmes (12) during the fifth inning at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies’ former shortstop is the veteran in San Diego now — and Rockies fans will (maybe?) always wonder what could’ve been, if not for deer meat.

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The year is 2005, and Clint Barmes is a rookie for the Colorado Rockies, playing every day in the infield after coming up very briefly in both 2003 and 2004 from the minor leagues.

On June 5 of that year (which was also my 19th birthday!!), Barmes went 1-for-5 with a home run in the Colorado Rockies’ 8-6 victory at home over the Cincinnati Reds, and by the end of the day, he was hitting .329/.371/.516 with eight homers and surely was a frontrunner in the National League Rookie of the Year race.

That night, he decided to celebrate by going to Todd Helton‘s ranch in Greeley, Colorado — along with fellow rookie Brad Hawpe — to ride ATVs and enjoy a deer meat dinner (Helton!).

The rest, of course, is well-documented Colorado Rockies lore, and Barmes’ season — and career — were undoubtedly altered. Barmes even reminisced about the injury after he left the Rockies, and openly wondered how it may have altered his career:

"“Barmes was a .318 hitter in 86 major league games before the mishap. He has batted .244 in 579 games since; he said, ‘It’s one of those things where everybody is like, ‘What would have happened if I didn’t get hurt?’ I’ve thought about that. I’m not going to lie.'”"

Nobody here is going to suggest that Barmes — who has since enjoyed 3,789 Major League at-bats and is a career .246/.295/.380 hitter — would’ve been a .300 hitter had he not broken his collarbone that fateful June day a decade ago. But the broken collarbone did kill his season (he hit just .289 overall in 2005, dropping 40 points from his batting average once he returned from the disabled list).

It’s tough to say what might have been with Barmes, and it’s even tougher considering that he himself wonders how it may have affected him — how the hell am supposed to know?! I do know this, though: Barmes (a) was an important part of the Colorado Rockies’ 2009 playoff run, and (b) has earned himself nearly 4,200 Major League plate appearances across now 13 Major League seasons. That’s no fluke.

But seriously, though. ATVs and deer meat with Todd Helton and Brad Hawpe. Good times, man.*

(*except for the collarbone)

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