We continue our look at the top 100 Colorado Rockies of all time in this article. Here, we look at No. 32 on our list, John Thomson.
John Thomson’s numbers for the Colorado Rockies may be closer to the top of the organization’s all-time list, simply because of their insistence on keeping him in Denver. The first instance, letting Thomson go could have brought one of the best pitchers ever to Colorado.
The Expos wanted to trade Pedro Martinez for prospects and Thomson. Then general manager Bob Gebhard was willing to part with prospects but not with Thomson. Martinez was later dealt to Boston.
More from Rox Pile
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: What if Todd Helton had played football instead?
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: Has Sean Bouchard earned a second look in 2023?
Pedro Martinez would probably not have been the same late-90s Red Sox phenom in Denver but he was already a Cy Young Award winner with Montreal. Kevin Brown was in a similar situation with the Marlins. All Brown did was make the All-Star team every year he was in Miami and won the World Series in 1997. He led the American League one year in wins and the National League in ERA twice.
It’s not that Thomson was detrimental, but he never lived up to what the Rockies originally saw in him.
Thomson’s rookie campaign was arguably his best posting 166.1 innings with a 4.71 ERA and a 7-9 record. The combination of his curveball and change up were intriguing enough for the Rockies to make him a centerpiece of the rotation. He had similar numbers in 1998 but a blister plagued him for a month that season.
This would extend over to the next season where he started the season 0-5 with a 11.84 ERA and was sent to the minors. He finished the season winning only one game with a 8.04 ERA.
He got his most win totals in 2002 going 6-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 11 starts. Injuries weren’t bothering him anymore but Thomson was a free agent at the end of the season so he was traded to the Mets. He won nine games in total that season.
Thomson was traded along with Mark Little for Jay Payton, reliever Mark Corey and minor leaguer Robert Stratton.
Payton played well with the Rockies but was gone after the 2003 season. Thomson had a 7.9 WAR in his Rockies career which technically makes him one of the greatest Rockies pitchers of all time.
But Rockies fans will always wonder what could have been. Instead the team got a pitcher who consistently struggled with injuries instead of realizing his true potential.