We continue our look at the top 100 Colorado Rockies of all time in this article. Here, we look at No. 46 on our list, Jose Jimenez.
For five years Jose Jimenez was the Rockies career leader in saves. Before Brian Fuentes set a record in 2008 with 115 saves, Jimenez was the clearly the best closer in franchise history with 102 saves. By the time Jimenez left the Rockies in 2003, Bruce Ruffin was the closest in saves with 60.
Jimenez wasn’t always a closer. In fact, he had a burgeoning starting career with the St. Louis Cardinals. Jimenez technically started his career in 1998 when he pitched in four games with a 3-0 record with a 2.95 ERA in 21.1 innings.
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The highlight of Jimenez’ full rookie season was his no-hitter against Randy Johnson and the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is one of only 22 major league players to throw a no-no in their rookie season. For the rest of the season, his results were mixed. He went 5-14 with a 5.85 ERA albeit pitching 163 innings, easily the most in his career.
His somewhat rocky start may have made him more expendable and brought him to the Rockies in a trade from the Cardinals in exchange for Darryl Kyle and the previous player on this list, Dave Veres.
Jimenez was converted to a reliever and it was the best thing that happened in his career. He had his most saves in a season in 2002 with 41. This is the most by a closer in a single season by a Rockies reliever. Seemingly based off this success, Jimenez started seven games in 2003. This was his worst season with the club as he went 2-10 with a 5.22 ERA.
He subsequently was let go and signed with the Cleveland Indians the next season. He had a record of 1-7 and a 8.42 ERA before he was released.
Jimenez finished his Rockies career with a 4.7 WAR and comfortably the second best closer in team history.
Check out the previous player on this list, Dave Veres, here.