There were plenty of sports personalities taking part in the UCHealth Healthy Swings Home Run Derby at Coors Field prior to the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies facing off in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon. Among them was former Colorado outfielder and Blake Street Bomber Dante Bichette.
The home run event focused on stroke awareness and benefitted the National Stroke Association. Bichette showed his home run power during his time in the cage and even took some swings one-handed, hitting line drives.
One of the founding fathers of The Blake Street Bombers, Bichette joined Andres Galarraga, Larry Walker, Vinny Castilla and Ellis Burks to form one of the most well-known groups to ever take the field for the Rockies. To this day, any time a Rockies team gets on a roll offensively, comparisons to the Blake Street Bombers are evoked.
While he may not have been an original member of the Rockies, he quickly became one of the most beloved after joining the team in a 1992 trade with the Brewers for Kevin Reimer. He introduced himself quickly to the massive Colorado crowds at Mile High Stadium, knocking a career-high 21 homers in 1993 and topping that with 27 in 1994.
In an exclusive talk with Rox Pile, Bichette said he considered those years some of his best memories with the Rockies.
“The walkoff homer on Opening Day at Coors Field was good,” Bichette said about his 14th-inning blast off Mike Remlinger of the New York Mets. “The 3-run homer off (Greg) Maddux in the playoffs was a lot of fun. Just the beginning of the franchise. That year and 80,000-some people showing up. Those times are precious.”
That walkoff homer not only opened Coors Field in style but was also the start of a magical 1995 season for Bichette. He paced the league in hits (197), homers (40) and RBI (128), coming in second in MVP voting. He hit .588 in the playoffs against Atlanta, including that blast off Maddux.
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?
Bichette will also have the Rockies running through his veins. He likes what he is seeing in this year’s team … and it’s not because of the offense.
“I like them,” he said. “I like the bullpen is a strong bullpen. To me, that’s real big for the Rockies because of the lead changes around here sometimes. If they can hold down a few of those, they’re in the hunt all year.”
So what does he think of the current Rockies lineup?
“They’re a pretty strong lineup. I’m not sure if you could ever get a Bomber lineup again, especially when Ellis was healthy because you had all five of us who were 40-homer guys. But I like their offense,” Bichette smiled.
And as for the Coors Field narrative that seems to put an asterisk by every Rockies player and accomplishment?
“It’s always going to be there,” Bichette shrugged. “It’s a great place. It’s an exciting place to play baseball. A lot of offense here. I think it’s overblown a little bit. It’s a good place to hit but every park has its handicap. The Dodgers are kind of the other way around. Their pitchers have a great place to pitch.”