Charlie Blackmon, the Rockies’ “Rock” in right field, still rolling along amid turbulent times for franchise – The Denver Post

Charlie Blackmon’s furry face might one day grace the Rockies’ Mount Rushmore, joining the likes of Todd Helton and Larry Walker.

Walker is already in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and Helton might join him someday. And although Blackmon’s statistics, solid as they are, won’t get him to Cooperstown, his work ethic, the standards he’s set for his teammates, and his pride in wearing the color purple make him a Rockies’ icon.

“I’ve called him ‘the Rock’ for a long time now. I think he embraces that,” all-star shortstop Trevor Story said Wednesday on the eve of Colorado’s 2021 opener vs. the Dodgers at Coors Field.

If Blackmon stays healthy, he’ll likely move past Walker and Carlos Gonzalez this season to rank second all-time in games played for the Rockies, behind only Helton’s 2,247.

“The cool part is that I got to play with a lot of the other guys on that list,” Blackmon said. “And Todd is, obviously, one of the best…It’s really cool to be in that company.”

Blackmon, who made his major-league debut in 2011, has seen some of the Rockies’ brightest stars depart, most notably Troy Tulowitzki, Gonzalez, and, of course, Nolan Arenado, his good friend, who was traded to St. Louis in February.

Story, who’s slated to become a free agent following this season, may be the next to go. There are no indications Story will sign a long-term deal to stay in Colorado.

But Blackmon just keeps rolling on. His current, six-year, $108 million contract ends this year, but it includes two player options that can keep him with the Rockies through 2023.

“The Rockies gave me my shot,” he said. “They drafted me higher than anybody else. They committed to me and I committed right back to the Rockies. I think it’s rare that players in this day and age end up in the same place for as long as I’ve been lucky enough to play here in Colorado.”

Blackmon’s disciplined workouts have become the gold standard for the Rockies and they are one of the major reasons he’s a four-time all-star and two-time Silver Slugger winner. Since 2014, he leads the National League with 1,178 hits.

“Charlie is awesome,” infielder/outfielder Garrett Hampson said. “And what he does as routine is something that I respect him for — because there’s no way I could do what he does. I can’t sit there in the weight room and roll out (on a foam roller) for three hours. It’s just not who I am. I can’t. I’d go crazy. But it works for him.”

This spring, more than ever before, Blackmon has embraced the role of a vocal leader.

“Where he is now in his career, Charlie is opening himself up, as a true leader and as a sounding board for the players,” manager Bud Black said. “As his career continues these next few years, I think he’s going to enjoy expanding his role on this team.”

Blackmon has tunnel vision on game day; something that can be a bit intimidating to younger players. But as Hampson has discovered, Blackmon is more than willing to share secrets of his craft.

“He’s so focused and routine-oriented, sometimes the younger guy coming up doesn’t feel like they want to bug him,” Hampson said. “But Charlie’s an open book.”

Still, Blackmon took a big step forward this spring when he got up in front of his teammates and spoke about the discipline necessary to excel as a major-league hitter.

“It was pure gold,” hitting coach Dave Magadan said. “I wish we would have recorded it.”

Blackmon has a .304 career batting average and won the 2017 National League batting title, hitting .331 and setting a major league record with 103 RBIs from the leadoff spot.

“Charlie is a great natural athlete, for sure,” Black said. “If you go back early to Charlie as (a college player at Georgia Tech), he was a pitcher first and a position player second. And then he truly made himself into a major league hitter.

“He’s become a great student of the game. He’s continued to work on the craft of hitting. With Charlie, it’s all about what the game calls for him to do. And he responds.”

As for Blackmon, the person, Black said: “I think about his personality, his wisdom, his experience, all those things. I mean, I love Charlie Blackmon, I really do.”

Climbing the Charts

Where Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon ranks in franchise history entering the 2021 season:

Games Played
1. Todd Helton 2,247
2. Carlos Gonzalez, 1,247
3. Larry Walker, 1,170
4. Charlie Blackmon, 1,119
5. Vinny Castilla, 1,098

Home Runs
1. Todd Helton 369
2. Larry Walker 258
3. Vinny Castillia 239
4. Nolan Arenado 235
5. Carlos Gonzalez 227
6. Dante Bichette 201
7. Troy Tulowitzki 188
8. Charlie Blackmon 178
9. Andres Galarraga 172
10. Trevor Story 134

Base Hits
1. Todd Helton 2,519
2. Larry Walker 1,361
3. Carlos Gonzalez 1,330
4. Charlie Blackmon 1,311
5. Dante Bichette 1,278

1. Todd Helton 1,406
2. Larry Walker   848
3. Dante Bichette 826
4. Nolan Arenado 760
5. Carlos Gonzalez 749
6. Vinny Castilla 745
7. Troy Tulowitzki 657
8. Andres Galarraga 579
9. Charlie Blackmon 553
10. Matt Holliday 486

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