Forgotten Colorado Rockies: 4-time All-Star Greg Vaughn

Greg Vaughn played parts of 15 seasons in the major leagues and was an All-Star four times. In over 1,700 career games in the majors, he spent just over one percent of those games as a member of the Colorado Rockies.

The Colorado Rockies have had hundreds of players play for them throughout their franchise’s history. Particularly in the first 10 to 15 years of the franchise, there may be some players that played on the Rockies that you may have forgotten about. One of those is Greg Vaughn.

At the end of the 1990s, Greg Vaughn was one of the best power hitters in baseball.

He first became an All-Star in 1993 with the Milwaukee Brewers (who were in the American League at the time). He hit 30 home runs and 97 RBI with an OPS+ of 128.

While he was an All-Star for the Brewers then, he would not be an All-Star again until 1996. From 1996 through 1999, Vaughn hit between 41 and 50 home runs three times and he had between 117 and 119 RBI three times. In 1998, he helped the San Diego Padres become the National League Champions as he was an All-Star, won a Silver Slugger Award, and came in 4th in NL MVP voting.

Before the 1999 season, the Padres traded Vaughn to Cincinnati and he hit 45 home runs and 118 RBI, which nearly matched his 50 and 119 in 1998. His OPS+ dropped from 156 to 117 between the years but he still came in 4th in the NL MVP race. Vaughn helped get the Reds all the way to Game 163 as they were tied with the Mets with a record of 96-66. The Reds lost 5-0.

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He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. That offseason, the Devil Rays tried to bring themselves into contention with some bigger offseason moves and trades, like signing Vaughn. On the same day they signed Vaughn, they traded for Rockies third baseman Vinny Castilla.

All of the other signings (John Burkett, Pat Borders, Juan Guzman, Carlos Baerga, Norm Charlton, Ozzie Guillen, Dwight Gooden, Dave Hollins, and Gerald Williams), however, did not make the team’s regular-season roster out of Spring Training and were released, had their contract voided (Baerga), got injured early on, or just flat out didn’t pan out.

The only one that had a fruitful tenure there was Vaughn. In 2000, he posted a 119 OPS+ and even though he had an OPS+ of 103 in 2001, he became an All-Star again. He struggled a bit more in 2002, partially due to injuries, as he only played in 69 games.

The Devil Rays released him toward the end of spring training so the Rockies decided to take a flyer on Vaughn. He started out the season in Triple-A Colorado Springs and he hit .302/.388/.690 with 12 home runs and 35 RBI in 35 games with the Sky Sox.

The Rockies decided to call Vaughn up in early June to provide the team with a bat both at Coors Field and on the road because the Rockies were 15 games below .500 on the road at that time.

However, Vaughn did not prove to be a huge offensive force for the Rockies as he hit .189/.326/.514 in 22 games (7 starts). He last played on July 10 before he was granted free agency on July 13. He never signed nor played another MLB game again after his release.

In 2009, he was on the MLB Hall of Fame ballot for the first and only time as he dropped off of the ballot due to receiving zero votes.

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He was still an excellent MLB player for a few years but not while with the Rockies and that’s why he is one of many forgotten Colorado Rockies throughout their franchise history.

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