DENVER -- The Mile High City can’t quite be called the home of the National League batting championship, but it’s not out of line to call Denver its favorite vacation home.
In the Rockies’ 28 seasons in the Majors, one of their players has won the batting crown 11 times, starting with Andrés Galarraga in the inaugural season of 1993. Galarraga’s occurred with home games at Mile High Stadium, while the rest have come understandably at Coors Field, where a spacious outfield helps balls land.
It’s not as if there has been that one dominant hitter like, say, the Padres’ Tony Gwynn, winner of a record-tying eight NL batting crowns. Larry Walker took three, but the other eight went to eight different players.
Here is a look at the batting champs from the Rockies:
Andrés Galarraga, 1993
Andrés Galarraga had batted all of .243 the previous season with the Cardinals. But his hitting coach in St. Louis was Don Baylor, who became manager of the expansion Rockies. Continuing ideas he adopted late in ’92 with the Cardinals, Galarraga hit .370, the highest batting average for a right-handed hitter since Yankee Clipper Joe DiMaggio’s .381 in 1939.
Larry Walker, 1998
The batting title was about the only accomplishment to elude Larry Walker in 1997, when he won the Rockies’ only National League Most Valuable Player Award. In ’98, his .363 was nine points better than his nearest competition and ended Tony Gwynn’s streak of four straight titles. And he was the first Canadian-born player to win a batting title in the 20th century.
Larry Walker, 1999
Walker topped his ’98 by batting .379 -- the fifth-highest average in the Majors since the Red Sox’s Ted Williams batted .406 in 1941. He also led the Majors in slugging (.710) and on-base percentage (.458) to become the first Major Leaguer to take a league’s percentage triple crown since the Royals’ George Brett in 1980.
Todd Helton, 2000
Todd Helton took Associated Press MLB Player of the Year honors by batting .372. He also led the Majors with 147 RBs, and he hit 42 home runs. Helton blew up criticism that Rockies players cannot hit on the road by batting .391 at Coors Field and .353 on the road. In the sixth inning on Aug. 21, his average reached exactly .400.
Larry Walker, 2001
Walker appeared in just 87 games in 2000 because of a right elbow injury, but he returned to health in ’01 to bat .350 for his third batting crown in four seasons. To take the title, he batted .364 from Sept. 5 to season’s end. He and the Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki tied for the highest average in the Majors.
Matt Holliday, 2007
Matt Holliday’s bat was a key to the Rockies’ lone World Series appearance. Not only did his .340 batting average lead the NL, but he also was tops in hits (216), RBIs (137), extra-base hits (92), total bases (386) and doubles (50). The Rockies won 14 of the final 15 regular-season games. Holliday missed two of those with an oblique injury, but in the others he posted a .442/.532/.846 slash line with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 62 plate appearances.
Carlos González, 2010
In his first full Major League season, Carlos González had a shot at a Triple Crown until the final month before finishing at .336. He displayed startling situational consistency -- .320 left-on-left, .345 against right-handers, .341 with runners on base, .350 with runners in scoring position and .313 with the bases loaded.
Michael Cuddyer, 2013
Michael Cuddyer, who had never hit higher than .284 during his 11 seasons with the Twins, finished with a .331 batting average during a year that included a franchise-record 46-game on-base streak. The race was tight until Cuddyer batted .385 after Sept. 1.
Justin Morneau, 2014
Walker gave Justin Morneau, a fellow Canadian, blessing to become the first player since Walker to wear No. 33. Morneau did him proud by winning the NL batting crown. The performance completed a long comeback from the effects of a 2010 concussion he sustained while with the Twins.
DJ LeMahieu, 2016
DJ LeMahieu had at least two hits in each of the first five games of the year and maintained his pace. The .348 final average was the highest for a player whose primary position was second base since the Twins’ Rod Carew batted .359 in 1975. LeMahieu became the first player in the modern era to win batting titles in both leagues when he accomplished the feat with the Yankees in 2020.
Charlie Blackmon, 2017
This one and Holliday’s 2007 are the only seasons in which the club went to the postseason when one of its players won a batting title. Not only did Charlie Blackmon lead the NL in hits (213), runs (137), triples (14) and total bases (387), but his 103 RBIs from the leadoff spot (of his total of 104) were a record.