Colorado Rockies Countdown: Top Five First Basemen
2. Andres Galarraga (1993-1997, fWAR 13.4)
Thee original Rockies first baseman, Andres “Big Cat” Galarraga, will always be admired by fans as a cornerstone of the “Blake Street Bombers” era. The Big Cat holds several impressive “firsts” in Rockies history, and it’s difficult to prioritize them, but there is one that is superior to the others.
On April 5, 1993, Andres laced a single up the middle off of Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets for the first-ever hit in Colorado Rockies history. Galarraga is also the first Rockie ever to hit three home runs in a game, and he holds a Major League record for hitting home runs in three consecutive innings.
In Colorado’s inaugural 1993 season, the Big Cat finished with a .370 average on his way to winning the first batting title in Rockies history. The Big Cat will also go down in history as hitting one of the longest home-runs in Major League history … and it was a grand slam to boot.
Are you catching a trend? The Big Cat’s name is scattered all over Rockies’ leaderboards, but one of the most notable is that he holds the club’s single season record for most RBI in a season with 150. As an elite slugger, Galarraga holds the club record for fewest at-bats per home-run, hitting a bomb every 15.5 ABs (Ellis Burks is second at 15.8)
For all of his slugging prowess, Andres did strikeout an awful lot. Andres actually led the league in strikeouts four different times. Only once did he led the Majors in Ks while in Colorado, but it happens to be a club record (1996, 157 Ks).
The Big Cat played for seven clubs during his outstanding 19-season career. Colorado was his third stop. When all was said and done, Galarraga was a five-time All-Star (twice with Colorado), two-time Gold Glove winner, and a two-time Sliver Slugger (once with the Rockies). In his five seasons with the Rockies, Andres led the league at least once in average, strikeouts, home runs, and RBI (twice). Just like Morneau, Andres also finished his Rockies career with a .316 average.
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