Colorado Rockies Countdown: Top Five First Basemen
4. Jason Giambi (2009-2012, fWAR 1.0)
Jason Giambi‘s 518 career at-bats for Colorado barely qualifies him for our list, but here we are … anointing Giambi as an all-time Rockies great. Giambi’s Major League resume plainly speaks for itself. Colorado didn’t get the premier years, but Giambi had enough left in the tank to provide for some magical Rockies moments, especially late in games. The greatest example this writer can think of came in 2010.
With the Boston Red Sox visiting Coors Field for the first time since the 2007 World Series, the heartbreak and embarrassment of being blown out in that World Series resurfaced for many Rockies’ fans. In game two of that series, the Rockies and Red Sox were deadlocked at a six-all tie. With lock-down closer Jonathan Papelbon on the mound, Giambi came up to the plate with a man on and one out. Let’s just say Giambi delivered and that it was sweet to send Boston off into the night.
Over his 20-year career, Giambi was a five-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger and an AL MVP. Obviously, Giambi has made a major impact on the game of baseball on the field, but Giambi has made a major impact on the game off the field as well.
As one the sport’s premier players, Giambi has been categorized as a guy you want in your clubhouse as a leader and was even once a finalist for the Rockies managerial job before it was handed over to Walt Weiss. Giambi’s off-the-field contributions won’t always been seen as positive however.
Giambi’s career almost ended before he even hit Blake Street. Jason played the prime of his career during the “steroid era” of baseball and, after being implicated in the infamous BALCO scandal, it appeared Giambi’s legacy would be tarnished forever. But then something unprecedented happen … Giambi owned up to it. Although somewhat belatedly, Giambi admitted to making mistakes, which many of his peers at the time (Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Bonds and others) were failing to do.
The admission and ownership of his actions allowed Giambi to rebuild his reputation, find a rare second chance with fans, and ultimately become a late night hero and fan favorite in Colorado. Giambi played his last game in 2014 as a member of the Indians at the age of 43.
Next: Another Former AL MVP Comes to LoDo