The Colorado Rockies’ ho-hum history at the Midsummer Classic

DENVER - JULY 7: Larry Walker #33 of the National League bats during the MLB All-Star Game at Coors Field on July 7, 1998 in Denver, Colorado. The American League defeated the National League 13-8. (Photo by: Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
DENVER - JULY 7: Larry Walker #33 of the National League bats during the MLB All-Star Game at Coors Field on July 7, 1998 in Denver, Colorado. The American League defeated the National League 13-8. (Photo by: Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /

The Colorado Rockies have as many All-Star Game MVPs as they do division titles.

That doesn’t mean the Rockies don’t get stars to the Midsummer Classic. In fact, at least one Rockies’ position player has make the All-Star Game every year in franchise history except 2005, when the Rockies only representative was reliever Brian Fuentes. They’ve just failed to produce game-changing moments or memorable performances.

Larry Walker — a future Hall-of-Famer in a just universe — claims the most memorable moment of any Rockies All-Star. In 1997, Walker had some good-natured fun with old friend Randy Johnson. After Johnson threw a pitch behind his head, Walker flipped his helmet backwards and spun around to bat on the other side of the plate. It’s a strange, silly moment that even made AL manager Joe Torre smile. Johnson walked him, but Walker was left stranded and the American League won 3-1, their first of twelve straight All-Star Game victories.

A year later, the Rockies’ biggest star was their own ballpark: pre-humidor Coors Field (“baseball’s top launching pad” according to this delightful NBC promo). The AL won the highest-scoring All-Star Game ever, a 13-8 thriller that included 31 hits, three lead changes, two ties and Barry Bonds hitting a three-run jack off a young Bartólo Colon to the future location of the Party Deck.

Believe it or not, Rockies pitchers occasionally sneak into the All-Star Game. The first was slugging pitcher Mike Hampton, in 2001. Shawn Chacon followed in 2003 (he didn’t get into the game and imploded in the second half of the season), then Brian Fuentes in 2005-07, Aaron Cook in 2008, Jason Marquis in 2009, and Ubaldo Jiménez in 2010.

Jiménez was the first and, possibly last, Rockies pitcher to start for the National League. He bent but didn’t break in Angel Stadium of Anaheim, striking out Vladimir Guererro and escaping a jam by forcing Josh Hamilton to ground into a double play. He pitched two scoreless innings and helped the NL claim its first All-Star Game since 1996.

Rockies hitters haven’t fared particularly well in All-Star Games. The franchise has just two home runs in the game: Todd Helton off Shigetoshi Hasegawa in 2003 and Matt Holliday off Ervin Santana in 2008.

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Helton has more appearances than any other Rockie, making his five All-Star Games from 2000-2004. In 2002, at Milwaukee’s Miller Park, he drove in Jimmy Rollins on a single off Roy Halladay before getting home via Bonds home run. The game ended in an infamous 7-7 draw after both leagues exhausted their pitchers, and inspired Bud Selig to make the game “count” by giving the winning league home-field advantage in the World Series.

The current decade is a quiet one for Rockies at All-Star Games.

In 2013, of all years, the Rockies had three position players in the starting lineup for the first time in franchise history: Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Cuddyer and Troy Tulowitzki. But it didn’t amount to anything as the NL was limited to three hits in a game the AL won 3-0 at Citi Field in New York.

Tulowitzki came through the following year, hitting a double off Max Scherzer at Target Field in Minneapolis. But Rockies-killer Paul Goldschmidt struck out and refused to drive him in.

Now, the Rockies boast a new era of exciting All Stars. Nolan Arenado is going to his fourth All-Star Game on July 17. It will be Charlie Blackmon‘s third appearance and the first for Trevor Story. Blackmon is searching for his first All-Star Game hit, while Arenado will seek to replicate his success from last year, when he went knocked two singles off Chris Sale and Jason Vargas.

We know Arenado can do damage at the plate. If he gets the chance to to make magic happen at third base, don’t count out Arenado on being the Rockies’ first All-Star Game MVP.

Next: Colorado Rockies morning after: Adam Ottavino is mad … and he should be

Now, if only Adam Ottavino were there to help him out.