The 100 Greatest Colorado Rockies: No. 45 Jay Payton
We continue our look at the top 100 Colorado Rockies of all time in this article. Here, we look at No. 45 on our list, Jay Payton.
After the Mets reached the World Series in 2000, they were not nearly the same team the next year winning 82 games. The Mets shipped most of their team away after 2001, but interestingly they kept Jay Paton.
That’s probably because he flashed so much potential during his first full season where he played in 149 games and batted .291. Payton did that against all odds. He had a very difficult time making the major after being drafted in 1994. He dealt with many surgeries including two Tommy John surgeries.
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A hamstring limited Payton in 2001 and the Mets gave up on him and traded him to the Rockies during the 2002 season. The Rockies won the trade as Payton performed well his first season in Colorado hitting .335 in 47 games as opposed to .284 in 87 games with the Mets.
It would not compare though to Payton’s outstanding 2003 season. Coors Field was a haven for Payton who enjoyed his best year in his only full season with the Rockies. He had a career high in almost every category including 28 homers, 89 RBIs and an OBP of .354. He hit .303 setting himself up well for free agency.
Payton was never the same again. He had a down year in 2004 after he signed with Padres. He was then traded to the Red Sox in 2005 but was traded to the Athletics after he publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with his playing time. He would later play with the Athletics and Orioles through 2008.
He didn’t play in 2009 but his Rockies story didn’t end when he went to San Diego. In 2010, Payton signed a minor-league contract with the Rockies. He played in Colorado Springs until September. He did well in his 35 at-bats hitting .343. With the Rockies, Payton had a 4.6 WAR.
Next: Colorado Rockies: Our 2017 Season Predictions and Forecasts
Jay Payton had the best years of his career in Colorado. Another Colorado Rockies outfielder left too soon.