Colorado Rockies: The greatest players to wear numbers 41-50

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 19: German Marquez #48 of the Colorado Rockies poses for a portrait at the Colorado Rockies Spring Training Facility at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 19, 2020 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 19: German Marquez #48 of the Colorado Rockies poses for a portrait at the Colorado Rockies Spring Training Facility at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 19, 2020 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO – MAY 26: Preston Wilson, #44 of the Colorado Rockies hits his 5th home run of the season in the 5th inning off of Cliff Bartosh during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 26, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs were defeated by the Rockies 5-2. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
CHICAGO – MAY 26: Preston Wilson, #44 of the Colorado Rockies hits his 5th home run of the season in the 5th inning off of Cliff Bartosh during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 26, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs were defeated by the Rockies 5-2. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Number 43

By far and away, Mike Munoz has worn 43 the longest in franchise history. Rafael Ynoa is a close second, playing with the club from 2014-16 in 94 games with a .281 batting average.

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Munoz is the veteran of this bunch. He was a member of the inaugural 1993 team and played in Denver until 1998. While never blowing anyone away, he became a reliable relief pitcher, eating a lot of the middle innings for the Rockies.

Colorado’s first run at the playoffs is where he made his most appearances (64) but he had a 7.42 ERA. The strike-shortened 1994 season was his best with 57 appearances and a 3.74 ERA. He played six years in the Mile High City, which not too many relievers in baseball can say.

Number 44

This might be the most contested number between 41-50 with Preston Wilson, Juan Nicasio, Roy Oswalt, and Tyler Anderson. Oswalt is the best player of all of these players, regardless of the team they played for. However, the best player to wear 44 in purple pinstripes is not Oswalt. Tyler Anderson had the best shot of being the greatest Rockie to don Hank Aaron’s number, but his 11.76 ERA in 2019 all but ended his career in LoDo and he now plays for the San Francisco Giants.

That leaves Nicasio and Wilson. Nicasio made a tremendous and inspiring comeback after he was struck in the head from a line drive, fracturing his neck in 2011. He pitched his best season in 2013 with a 9-9 record and 157 innings pitched, but struggled to keep his ERA under 5.00 his entire Rockies career. He has made a decade-long career and is still playing, signing a minor-league contract with the Texas Rangers in the offseason.

Last, but certainly the best player to wear 44 in a Rockies uniform, is Wilson. The center fielder came over from the Marlins for Juan Pierre and Mike Hampton. He struggled in his last years in Miami, but rebounded tremendously when he came to Denver, making his first and only All-Star game with the Rockies in 2003. He logged 141 RBI and 36 home runs, with a .282 average, which was the best of his career.

He didn’t have as good of a season in 2004 as he was limited by injuries and in 2005 when he was traded to Washington in the middle of the season. But he provided a complementary piece to Larry Walker in the outfield and gave significant value to the organization after the club gave up two players they invested a lot in in Pierre and Hampton.

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