The 100 Greatest Colorado Rockies: 80 Jeffrey Hammonds
We continue our look at the top 100 Colorado Rockies of all time in this article. Here, we look at No. 80 on our list, Jeffrey Hammonds.
Even though it would have been amazing to have Jeffrey Hammonds become a cornerstone player in Denver, in hindsight the Colorado Rockies handled his arbitration deal well.
Originally it looked like the Rockies gave up too much for Hammonds as they traded one of their all-time players in Dante Bichette to the Cincinnati Reds. Both teams had their player for a year. Hammonds was a back up outfielder in Cincinnati and the Rockies got cash considerations and relief pitcher Stan Belinda.
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Bichette didn’t have a bad year with the Reds, he just had continuing knee problems and essentially was limited to being a designated hitter.
Hammonds on the other hand had a break out season with the Rockies. He made the All-Star game for the first time in his career. He hit .335 with 20 home runs and 106 RBIs. The only player better than him that year on the Rockies was Todd Helton. He had the fourth highest batting average in the league.
Hammonds did miss 40 games that year though and it would foreshadow what was to come with the Rockies and for the rest of his career. The Rockies declined to offer him salary arbitration. While his numbers deserved a contract extension, the Rockies didn’t want to commit long term.
Instead he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers to a three-year nearly $22 million deal. He played 49 games his first season with the Brewers in 2001. Disabled lists were a norm in 2002 and 2003. He had some resurgence with the Giants and played on their playoff roster in 2003. He retired with the Washington Nationals in 2005.
In 2014 he was hired by the Major League Baseball Players Association as a special assistant for player program development. The memories were great with Helton and Hammonds at the turn of the century. It’s hard not to think about what could have been if it weren’t for injuries. Regardless, Hammonds had one of the best individual seasons in Rockies franchise history.
Check out the previous story in this list about number 81 Mike Hampton here.