Colorado Rockies forgotten players: Todd Zeile
Todd Zeile is an often forgotten Colorado Rockies player as well as one of the best players that is often forgotten about, in general.
Todd Zeile played parts of 16 seasons in the major leagues for an astonishing 11 MLB teams. Perhaps, that’s part of the reason why he is one of the best MLB players that never made an All-Star team, a player that is a forgotten Colorado Rockies player, and forgotten by much of baseball fans today.
Zeile spent the majority of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals (parts of seven seasons) and New York Mets (parts of three seasons). For one whole season, though, he called Denver home as he played with the Rockies in the 2002 season.
Zeile started out as a catcher in the Cardinals system but then-manager Joe Torre wanted to move Zeile out from behind the plate to another position because he thought his career would last longer.
As the saying goes, “It takes one to know one” and Torre knew because that’s exactly what happened in his own playing career.
Both Torre and Zeile learned to play first base and later, third base. For the Rockies in ’02, he was their everyday third baseman. Even though he was never an All-Star, he still was a very good player.
He was acquired by the Rockies in a big three-team deal on January 21, 2002. Here’s what the deal looked like.
Entering the 2002 season, Zeile had seven seasons with 80 or more RBI and another season with 79 RBI (2000). Five of those seasons were between 90 and 103 RBI. However, in the middle of the steroid era, those numbers didn’t look at big as they did even just a decade prior. His career slash line to that point was .267/.349/.429 with an OPS+ of 107 in 1,777 career games.
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He also had 29 games of postseason experience, hitting .292/.362/.460 in 127 plate appearances. He hit .400/.429/.500 for the Mets in 21 plate appearances in the 2000 World Series.
In his only season with the Rockies, he batted fifth for most of the season, behind Larry Walker and Todd Helton in the lineup, including on Opening Day. In 144 games, he hit .273/.353/.425 with 18 home runs, 87 RBI, and an OPS+ of 93.
Zeile was granted free agency and signed with the New York Yankees for the 2003 season. They released him mid-season and he finished the season with the since-relocated Montreal Expos. He finished his career with the Mets in 2004. With playing for 11 teams, he is the only MLB player to ever hit a home run for ten or more teams. He also finished his career with 2,004 career hits, 253 career homers, and 1,110 career RBI.
After retiring, he founded his own production company (named Green Diamond Entertainment, as a nod to his baseball career) and he went into Hollywood as a producer and actor. He is best known for being a co-executive producer for the FX show Anger Management, which starred Charlie Sheen and Selma Blair.
Now, he’s the pre- and post-game color analyst for the New York Mets on television.