The 100 Greatest Colorado Rockies: 69 Shawn Chacon
By Ben Macaluso
We continue our look at the top 100 Colorado Rockies of all time in this article. Here, we look at No. 69 on our list, Shawn Chacon.
Shawn Chacon was explosive for more than his antics off the field. For a time he seemed like the answer for Colorado’s starting pitching woes and to a lesser extent a closer. He is one of the few Rockies pitchers to make the All-Star game. It was hard not to root for the righty from Greeley. Until he started using that arm for more than pitching.
Chacon made an impact early in the Rockies rotation his rookie year in 2001. Although going 6-10 with a 5.06 ERA he pitched 160 innings in 27 games. He earned his second highest WAR of his Rockies career at 1.8. But his sophomore year he battled injuries and was eventually demoted to the minors. He would finish 2002 in the big leagues.
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Chacon had his best season as a Rockie in 2003 with a 1.9 WAR winning 11 games and earned a trip to the All-Star game. His recurring elbow injury left him out of the All-Star game. Chacon didn’t win another game the rest of the season. He was shut down in August for the same injury.
Chacon’s career with the Rockies was never the same when the team nabbed him as their closer. Father’s Day 2004 is a day I’ll never forget and it seems to sum up Chacon’s career as a closer. For the first time I saved up money to take my dad to the ball game. The Rockies were winning 2-0 in the ninth inning.
Joe Kennedy pitched a four hit afternoon. The Rockies were last in the division and the start by Kennedy seemed like a bright spot in an already lost season. Chacon then gave up four runs and the Rockies lost the game. I’ve never seen my dad yell so much at a baseball game in June. I haven’t taken him to a Rockies game on Father’s Day since.
Chacon finished the season with with 35 saves but had a record of 1-9 with a 7.11 ERA. Closing obviously didn’t work and he was moved back to the rotation. Things didn’t get much better as he went 1-7 but he had his best ERA with the Rockies at 4.09.
He was then traded to the Yankees where he had a complete turnaround going 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 79 innings. He pitched in his only post-season appearance that year against the Angels in the ALDS. He pitched well going 6.1 innings only giving up two runs in a game the Yankees would win 3-2.
The next season wasn’t the same and he was traded at the deadline to the Pirates. The Houston Astros picked him up and went a major league record nine consecutive games with a no-decision. That was the least of Chacon’s problems with the Astros. He was demoted to the bullpen in June. Around that time, then general manager Ed Wade asked to visit manager Cecil Cooper. Chacon said Wade was disrespectful in the exchange. Chacon lost his temper and threw Wade to the ground.
Chacon never pitched in the majors again. In 2009 he was arrested for unpaid gambling debts but was released after Las Vegas authorities decided not to extradite him.
Next: Colorado Rockies: 40-Man Roster Countdown: 10-6
When Chacon sticks to baseball he can make a real positive impact whether it’s starting or in his current position teaching baseball lessons to Los Angeles youth. Any Rockies pitcher to make the All-Star game should be considered one of the greatest in franchise history.
Check out the previous story in this list about number 70 Wilin Rosario here.