1995 Colorado Rockies
Clinched Wild Card: October 1, 1995, vs. San Francisco Giants
Managed by Don Baylor
History, Comments, Contributions
In only their third year of existence, the 1995 Colorado Rockies became the first - and, until 2007, the only - Rockies club to reach the postseason. In their first year playing in Coors Field, the Rockies finished 77-67, including a defeat of the San Francisco Giants in the season finale that enabled them to stay ahead of the Houston Astros for the NL Wild Card.
In its first season, Coors Field was proving to be one of the all-time best hitters' parks. The Rockies led the majors in hits, runs, home runs, and triples, and were last in the majors in ERA, hits allowed, and runs allowed (although not in home runs). The Rockies relied on a series of potent power hitters, most notably Andres Galarraga, newly-acquired Larry Walker, and all-stars Dante Bichette and Vinny Castilla, all of whom hit more than 30 home runs.
Only one Rockies' pitcher, Kevin Ritz, even reached 10 wins, finishing the season at 11-11. Coors Field took its toll on the Rockies' arms. They used 20 pitchers during the year, and a deadline deal to acquire pitcher Bret Saberhagen saw limited benefits. The Rockies started the year with a 4-game winning streak and never dropped below .500 all season long. Even after an 11-17 August (which included a record-setting 26-7 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Coors Field), the Rockies remained tied for the NL West lead with the Los Angeles Dodgers. A 6-game winning streak early in September put the Rockies in the division lead, but the Dodgers got hot down the stretch, requiring Colorado to hold on for the wild card.
Their opponent in the National League Division Series were the eventual World Series Champions, the Atlanta Braves. The Rockies lost a see-saw Game 1 at Coors Field. Chipper Jones homered twice for the Braves, but the game is perhaps best remembered for Don Baylor running out of position players and being forced to pinch hit pitcher Lance Painter with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. Painter struck out against Mark Wohlers to end the game. The Braves also won Game 2 at Coors Field when the Rockies' bullpen blew a ninth-inning lead, allowing four runs on four hits and an Eric Young error for a 7-4 loss. Colorado averted a sweep with a 10-inning win at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium in Game 3, where Andres Galarraga knocked home Dante Bichette for the go-ahead run, but Atlanta won the series with a 10-4 victory in game 4.
Opening Day Lineup
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Dante Bichette and Vinny Castilla
- NL Manager of the Year Award: Don Baylor
- NL Silver Slugger Award: Dante Bichette (OF) and Vinny Castilla (3B)
- John Bauer: "October 1, 1995: Rockies clinch postseason berth faster than any MLB expansion team" SABR