A place where Colorado Rockies baseball card collectors (all 3 of us) can waste some time reading about our favorite sport. The Rockies and their cards will be the primary focus, but I like to go off on tangents as well so anything and everything baseball related may be covered here.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Rock Stars - Second Base

In sharp contrast to the perpetual greatness of the last position of first base, second base for the Rockies has been a never-ending search for a solid contributor.  For comparison's sake, first base had a total of 2 Opening Day starters in the 19 year history of the franchise, second base has had 14! different starters and no one player has started more than 3.  The past seven years and 11 of the last 12 years have seen a different starter at second.  Even though the 2012 starter is not known by even God, it will be a different person because no one on the roster has started Opening Day at second.  With that as the backdrop for the position, let's take a look at six candidates for the best second baseman in Rockies history.

Eric Young Sr. (1993-97)
Eric Young was the first starting second baseman in Rockies history after being selected from the Dodgers in the first round of the expansion draft.  He is also, along with his son, the first father-son duo to play for the Rockies.  Young is often thought of for his speed, a notion supported by his many cards depicting him on the basepaths.  However, Young was a pretty good all-around ballplayer hitting .295/.378/.412 with 30 homers and 227 RBIs to go along with his 180 stolen bases in his 4+ seasons in Denver.  He was traded back to L.A. in the summer of 1997 for serviceable starter Pedro Astacio.

Mike Lansing (1998-2000)
Mike Lansing was acquired from the Montreal Expos for top prospect Jake Westbrook and others to take over at second in 1998.  His first year in Colorado was fairly successful, but injuries took their toll in subsequent years.  His line with the Rockies was .274/.324/.420 with 27 homers and 128 RBIs in 3 seasons.  He was traded to Boston in a 7 player deal that was largely unspectacular for both sides.  Lansing was later accused of being a PED user in the Mitchell Report during his time with the Rockies.

Todd Walker (2000-01)
Todd Walker was acquired at the 2000 trading deadline from Minnesota along with Butch Huskey for Todd Sears.  Despite losing the confidence of the Twins, Walker immediately stepped in as the Rockies starter at second.  He put up a line of .304/.363/.514 with 19 homers and 79 RBIs in his 2 partial seasons in Denver.  He was traded at the 2001 trading deadine along with Robin Jennings to Cincinnati for outfielder Alex Ochoa.

Aaron Miles (2004-05)
Aaron Miles was acquired from the Chicago White Sox for shortstop Juan Uribe in 2003.  He had a very productive rookie season and finished 4th in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting.  He was in Colorado for two seasons and put up a line of .288/.320/.363 with 8 homers and 75 RBIs.  In the 2005 offseason, Miles was traded to St. Louis with Larry Bigbie for relief pitcher/LOOGY Ray King.

Jamey Carroll (2006-07)
Jamey Carroll (or rather his contract) was purchased from the Washington Nationals for $300,000 prior to Spring Training in 2006.  In two seasons in Denver, Carroll had a line of .275/.357/.370 with 7 homers and 58 RBIs, but defense was Carroll's primary weapon for the Rockies as he led all second basemen in fielding in 2006.  Hardcore Rockies fans such as myself remember Carroll for hitting the sac fly which scored Matt Holliday (yes he touched the plate) in the one game playoff to put the Rocks in the 2007 playoffs.  He was traded to Cleveland following the 2007 season for a minor league pitcher that did not pan out.

Kazuo Matsui (2006-07)
In a "buy low" deal, Kaz Matsui was acquired from the Mets for utilityman Eli Marrero in mid 2006.  After spending much of 2006 in the minors to regain his stroke, Matsui won the starting job at second for 2007.  He performed well in his Rockies career with a line of .300/.353/.426 to go along with 6 homers and 56 RBIs and 40 stolen bases.  After an excellent postseason, Matsui signed as a free agent with the Houston Astros in 2008.

Honorable Mention: Roberto Mejia, Brent Butler, Luis Gonzalez

Voting for second base can begin immediately and will run through Saturday at 4PM Eastern time.  For those of you that may be wondering why I left off the 2008-10 starter (and potential winner) Clint Barmes, he actually played more games at shortstop and will be a featured nominee for that position.  As always, your votes are appreciated and in this case, they are very much needed because this is a challenging hodgepodge to say the least.


Wes Moore the former JBF said...

Count me among the voters for EY SR

Play at the Plate said...

Vote in! Happy New Year.