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Think about a Rockies team with Biggio at second base and how they’d perform. The 1996 Rockies would’ve improved by a couple games and that 83-win team may be closer to 85 or 86 wins, but it’d show an improving roster with consistent high hopes for the future. In 1997, they would’ve had the two best players in the league by fWAR (Biggio at 9.3 and Walker at 9.1) and they likely could’ve won the NL West after stealing a few games from the 90-win Dodgers. Maybe the slide in 1998 and 1999 doesn’t happen with Biggio providing a little more offensive boost.
But why stop there? What if a young hot-shot at shortstop who plays for the Seattle Mariners doesn’t re-sign with Seattle after the 1996 season because he looks over at a roster with a surging Larry Walker, an incredible Craig Biggio, the Tennessee Volunteers’ backup QB getting ready to man first base, the rest of the Blake Street Bombers in the wings, and only Neifi Perez in his way at shortstop? That’s right. I’m getting crazy and saying that Alex Rodriguez could’ve been a Rockie had Gebhard signed Biggio. After all, A-Rod’s contract for four years would’ve only cost the Rockies $10.7M, basically half the cost of Biggio. It’d have been a steal!
Now think about the 1997 season where the Rockies have the greatest season in Walker’s career, the greatest season in Biggio’s career, and A-Rod putting up 4.3 fWAR, far outpacing Walt Weiss at 1.7 and Neifi Perez at 0.5. That team could have made a serious, serious run at things.
But we’ll never know what could have happened. All we know is a future Hall of Famer wanted to play for the Rockies badly and Bob Gebhard said no because five years instead of four years was a deal-breaker to him. What a baffling mistake.
And because irony is rich, I feel the need to mention the fact that Craig Biggio got his 3,000th hit against the Rockies in Houston. The world works in mysterious ways.
So there you go. You now know the story about how Craig Biggio should’ve been a member of the Colorado Rockies after the 1995 season. May this be your reminder that while the Dodgers winning the World Series is painful, we still have a treasure trove of Rockies tales that will hurt you even more.
Congratulations. I hope you’re happy.