13 Former Rockies Among Hall Eligibles

June 23, 2009 | 3:27 pm  

In their 17th season, the Rockies are neophytes when it comes to baseball history. But there are traces of moss underfoot, signs the franchise’s past is taking root.

A total of 40 players are eligible for the 2010 Hall of Fame election, namely veterans who played 10 or more seasons in the major leagues and have been retired for five years, meaning they last played in 2004.

That group includes 13 former Rockies, most notably first baseman Andres Galarraga and outfielder Ellis Burks.

Being eligible for the 2010 Hall of Fame ballot is by no means the same as being on it. The recommendations of a screening committee will determine the new players added to next year’s ballot.

To be sure, the group of former Rockies includes several players whose time with the team was fleeting, like outfielder Darren Bragg, 71 games in 2000, outfielder Tom Goodwin, 91 games that same season, reliever Scott Service, three games in 1993, and reliever Turk Wendell, 12 games in 2004.

The group also includes first baseman Greg Colbrunn, 62 games with the Rockies in 1998 before former manager Don Baylor deemed Todd Helton, then in his first full season in the majors, ready to hit left-handed pitchers, and pitcher Andy Ashby, a two-time All-Star who won 98 games, none with the Rockies, for whom he made nine starts and 11 relief appearances in 1993.

Headlining the former Rockies who are Hall eligible next year are Galarraga and Burks. Galarraga, the Rockies first hero, played five seasons in Denver from 1993-1997, making the National All-Star team in the first and last of those seasons.

Galarraga, who played for seven teams, hit 172 of his 399 career home runs and drove in 579 of his 1,425 career RBI with the Rockies. Galarraga finished with 2,333 hits, including 843 with the Rockies. He led the league once in home runs and twice in RBI while with the Rockies and holds the single-season franchise record for RBI _ 150 in 1996. After the 1997 season, Galarraga, a free agent, signed with Atlanta.

Burks, who played for five teams, was with the Rockies from 1994-1998, leaving on July 31 of the latter season when he was traded to the Giants for outfielder Darryl Hamilton and pitchers Jim Stoops and Jason Brester.

Burks hit 115 of his 352 career home runs and drove in 337 of his 1,206 career RBI with the Rockies. Of his 2,107 hits, 558 came with the Rockies. Burks finished third in the NL MVP voting in 1996 with one of the most overlooked brilliant seasons in franchise history, hitting .344 with 40 homers, 128 RBI, 32 stolen bases, in 38 attempts, and leading the league in runs scored (142) and slugging percentage (.639).

Other former Rockies players eligible to be considered initially for the Hall ballot include reliever Curtis Leskanic, who was with the Rockies from 1993-1999, catcher Brent Mayne (2000-2001), third baseman Chris Stynes (2003), third baseman Todd Zeile (2002) and outfielder John Vander Wal (1994-1998), who holds the single-season club record for most pinch hits with 28 in 1995.