One of the very best players in the history of Colorado Rockies baseball is reportedly back in purple after nearly 10 years with other organizations. According to Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post, Matt Holliday will likely don a big league Rockies uniform tonight for the first time since Sept. 25, 2008.
Holliday was signed by the Colorado Rockies to a minor league deal a month ago and has been working his way back up through the minor leagues. In 66 plate appearances with Grand Junction (rookie league) and Albuquerque (Triple-A), he’s slashing .345/.455/.600 with eight extra-base hits and 15 RBI. In those 16 games, he has served as the designated hitter seven times while played outfield six times and first base twice.
Holliday was drafted in seventh round of 1998 draft by the Rockies out of Stillwater, Okla. He debuted in 2004 for the big league club and played in Denver until 2008. In that time, he was a three-time All-Star, Sliver Slugger and one time Batting Champion, RBI King and runner-up to the MVP. The latter of those three recognitions came in 2007 when he led the Rockies to the World Series. He batted .340 with 36 home runs and 137 RBI that season, all career-highs.
Holliday was traded to the Oakland A’s after the 2008 season for Huston Street and Carlos Gonzalez when he and the Rockies could not work out a contract extension. He signed with the Cardinals the subsequent offseason and won a World Series in St. Louis.
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In total, he’s a seven-time All-Star and has a career average of .299 with 314 home runs and 1,217 RBI over 14 seasons.
The 38-year-old played last season with the New York Yankees where he hit .231 with 19 homers and 64 RBI.
Holliday’s 2007 is still one of the best single seasons in franchise history and his career has seen him ascend to one of the top one percent of hitters to ever step into the box. He’s the franchise’s third best hitter by average at .319 in a Rockies uniform, hit the 10th most homers and drove in the ninth most runs.
Holliday will provide a veteran right-handed power bat off the bench. It’s unlikely Rockies fans will see him take the field as even in his prime his glove wasn’t strong. Either way, he should bolster the Rockies pinch hitting situation, which has been about league average this season with the team carrying a batting average of .205 in those spots.
The biggest question now about Holliday is what number will he wear? His famous No. 5 was taken by the man who took his spot in the field: CarGo.