3. 1997 Colorado Rockies (83-79)
The “Blake Street Bombers” were well known around the league by 1997, but the heart of the Rockies’ lineup shifted over the years and found a new home in the form of Larry Walker.
Dante Bichette’s production steadily declined after the ’95 season, and he hit just 26 home runs in 1997. Vinny Castilla and Andres Galarraga continued to put up 40-plus homers in to ’97, but the team lead belonged to Walker with 49 bombs.
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Not only did Walker lead the team in deep flies, but he hit an astonishing .366 with 130 RBI. His dominance did not go unnoticed through the year, and Walker was named the 1997 NL MVP. Walker also earned a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in ’97 to cement his spot as one of the greatest seasons in franchise history.
Once again the Rockies struggled in the pitching department in ’97, but there were a few notable performances as well. Roger Bailey took over as the club’s ace and posted a 9-10 record with a 4.29 ERA. Though the numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, his performance was enough to carry an otherwise lackluster rotation.
Walker’s MVP performance along with a serviceable pitching staff and bullpen led the team to an eventual 83-79 record and a third place finish in the NL West. The best single-season performance in franchise history boosted the ’97 club to the third overall spot on the list.