For old guys like me (or at least for me specifically), the Colorado Rockies still feel like a “new” team.
They didn’t wink until existence until I was in college, after all, and that was just, like, yesterday.
So when the Cleveland Indians selected the contract of Carlos Gonzalez this weekend, I figured he’d soon be joining a select handful of gents he have played for both the Tribe and the Rockies.
And I guess that’s true, provided you can fit 64 baseball players in your hand.
Because, according to this nifty Baseball Reference tool, CarGo will become the 64th man to suit up for both teams. The first were Willie Blair, Alex Cole, and Danny Scheaffer, all of whom played for the Rox in their inaugural season (1993) after having previously appeared for the Tribe.
What’s even more fascinating about the list of dual-team players than its sheer size, though, is that it includes Ellis Burks.
Veteran hobbyists will remember Burks as one of the big names in the rookie card crop of 1988. He was right there with Todd Benzinger and Sam Horn among the young guns who were going to take the Boston Red Sox to the promised land in the 1990s.
Burks put up some solid numbers in Boston over his six season with the Sawx, but he never developed into the superstar some expected him to become. Part of that was do to a seeming fragility that saw him play more than 150 games only once and fewer than 100 a couple of times.
Burks didn’t give up, though, and he plugged through 18 Big League seasons that also included stops with the Chicago White Sox and San Francisco Giants.
In the end, he came full circle to finish his career with 11 games for the 2004 Red Sox team that ended the Curse of the Bambino once and for all.
Along the way, Burks collected more than 2100 hits and 350+ homers, and you have to wonder if a few fewer injuries might have landed him in Cooperstown.
So what does all this have to do with Carlos Gonzalez, other than the two players’ shared Rockies-Indians roots?
Well, through age 32, Baseball Reference lists the batter who is most similar to CarGo as … yep, Ellis Burks.
The beauty and symmetry of this game never cease to amaze!
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