The 100 Greatest Colorado Rockies: No. 36 Bruce Ruffin

Mar 18, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; A view of Rawlings baseballs in the bullpen at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The Orioles won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; A view of Rawlings baseballs in the bullpen at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The Orioles won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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We continue our look at the top 100 Colorado Rockies of all time in this article. Here, we look at No. 36 on our list, Bruce Ruffin.

There is something refreshing about Bruce Ruffin. He was a pitcher that sought out the opportunity to pitch in Denver. That put him in rarified air. Metaphorically and literally. He was one of the first free agents the Colorado Rockies ever signed.

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To be fair there wasn’t any precedent for major league pitching in 1993, but Ruffin played in Denver before playing for the Rockies. In 1992 he pitched for the Denver Zephyrs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Whether ignorance was bliss or he Denver suited his skills, signing with the Rockies paid off for Ruffin. Ruffin was one of the older guys on the team and was one of few free agents along with Bryn Smith and Andres Galarraga.

Although he started 12 games in the inaugural season, he eventually transitioned to a role in the bullpen. He became a stabilizing force in that early bullpen and became one of the best lefty’s the Rockies have ever seen. He used an effective slider similar to Adam Ottavino but from the opposite side.

He played for the Rockies from 1993-1997 after making mostly starting appearances with the Phillies and Brewers. He earned 60 saves with the Rockies which places him fourth in all-time saves for the franchise. He struck out nine in one game which is a Rockies record for a reliever. His 6.6 WAR with the club puts him in elite Rockies relief history.

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Anybody who wants to pitch in Denver stands out among the crowd. That mentality led him to some elite company and one of the best closer’s in Rockies history. He fit well in Denver. Ruffin was a pioneer.

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