We continue our look at the top 100 Colorado Rockies of all time in this article. Here, we look at No. 90 on our list, Huston Street.
The last time the Rockies were a playoff caliber team, Houston Street was the closer. Street also pitched and lost one of the most heart breaking games in franchise history. When Street came to Colorado, there were many mixed emotions. Matt Holliday was traded for Street, Greg Smith and some guy named Carlos Gonzalez. At the time, it was hard to part with Holliday’s stardom for what seemed like a bunch of prospects that you hope would pan out. It turned out to be the best trade the Rockies ever made.
Street was a large part of that. To start the season he beat out Manny Corpas as closer. Both Street and Corpas struggled switching roles until May when Street took the role for good. If you recall that 2009 started terribly and even came down to firing Clint Hurdle but the Rockies went 16-1 for most of June. Street’s 35 saves out of 37 had a tremendous impact. He went 61.2 innings with a 3.06 ERA and 70 strikeouts. He had a 1.8 WAR that regular season but it went went much farther than that. The Rockies would have not been in the playoffs without Street.
The results were mixed for Street when it came to the NLDS against the Phillies. Aaron Cook was going up against World Series MVP Cole Hamels and Street held the 5-4 lead to close game two with two runners on base with Shane Victorino at the plate. In game three (which seemed to be the coldest game ever played) the Rockies were tied in the top of the ninth after four ties throughout the game. Street would give up a sac fly to Ryan Howard scoring Jimmy Rollins for the winning run. The most difficult loss came the next day when Ubaldo Jimenez matched Cliff Lee and the Rockies took a 4-2 lead into the top of the ninth. The runners on base caught up with Street. He started off well retiring the first two batters but gave up three runs to end the series against the eventual NL representative of the World Series. Street only lost two saves during the regular season but lost two games in the post season. The Rockies really haven’t recovered since.
As for Street, he was hurt for almost three months to start 2010. He still pitched well after coming back earning 20 saves in 25 chances with a 3.61 ERA. In 2011 he had sort of the opposite season going on the disabled list in August. He still pitched well with 29 saves in 32 chances with a 3.86 ERA but eventually gave up the closer role to Rafael Betancourt after his injuries.
Street was traded to San Diego in part to save some cap room which the Rockies was partly used to sign Michael Cuddyer. Street’s struggles in the 2009 NLDS are painful for Rockies fans but having a carousel of closers since Street’s (and Betancourt’s) departure is more concerning. Street brought consistency to the position in a place with really uncharted waters. If the Rockies are to make any playoff run with their tremendous offensive weapons, they need a closer with even half of Street’s skill set.