DENVER -- Until Larry Walker was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2020, no one who had played a single game for the Rockies had made it to Cooperstown. That barrier broken, who else should be there, or at least receive consideration?
There is one player on the 2021 ballot, first baseman Todd Helton, who is clearly a candidate. But there are others who should be, at the very least, remembered fondly by Rockies fans.
Here are the top five Rockies not in the Hall of Fame:
1) Todd Helton (1997-2013)
His No. 17 is the only retired number in club history, and his 17-season career -- all with the Rockies -- is one that can compare to the greatest players of all time. For the numbers-oriented among us, Helton’s 61.8 Baseball Reference Wins Above Replacement (bWAR) is the team record, and with a .316 career batting average, a .414 on-base percentage, 2,519 hits, 592 doubles and 369 home runs, he's got a strong statistical argument for getting off this list.
2) Troy Tulowitzki (2006-15)
As a rookie in 2007, Tulowitzki grabbed the shortstop position and a leadership role on a team that went to the World Series. His combination of power and defense had fans thinking that maybe he would receive Hall of Fame consideration. He made five All-Star Game appearances for the Rockies, but injuries took him off the path to Cooperstown enshrinement.
3) Matt Holliday (2004-08, '18)
The bulk of his career (eight years) came with St. Louis, but Holliday had almost as many All-Star Game appearances with the Rockies (three) as with the Cardinals (four). Rockies fans remain convinced he should have won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 2007, when he led the league in batting average (.340), hits (216), doubles (50), RBIs (137) and total bases (386). His career ended fittingly in 2018, with 25 regular-season appearances for the Rockies while helping the club reach the postseason.
4) Andrés Galarraga (1993-97)
“The Big Cat” played more seasons with the Expos (eight) than the Rockies (five). But he’ll be remembered as the Rockies’ first star. After a down year with the Cardinals in 1992, he joined the expansion Rockies in ’93 and won the NL batting title in the first of his two All-Star years in Purple Pinstripes. Galarraga also would lead the league in RBIs twice with the Rockies ('96, '97). With Helton in the wings, however, Galarraga signed with the Braves in '98, with whom he had two more All-Star seasons.
5) Vinny Castilla (1993-99, 2004, '06)
A gem of the expansion draft, Castilla began his career as the team’s shortstop but flourished after a move to third base in 1994. Castilla batted .309 with 158 home runs from '95-98, and appeared in two All-Star Games during that period. In ’04, the first of his two return cameos with the Rockies, Castilla led the NL with 131 RBIs.
Not included in this list is outfielder Carlos González (2009-18), who posted a 23.7 bWAR with the Rockies. González did not play in 2020, but has not officially retired. Whether he returns to the Majors or not, he goes down as one of the most beloved and accomplished players in Colorado history.