Cooperstown Chronicles – Rocky Colavito

Mar 30, 2008

cooperstown-chronicles.jpg
Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

Rocky Colavito was suggested by Favre_is_overrated_2007, a friend of mine from Sporting News.  Here are my findings. 

rocky-colavito.jpg
Image courtesy of Icon SMI – Shown with Yogi Berra.

The Numbers
1841 Games
6503 At Bats  
.266 Batting Average
971 Runs 
1730 Hits 
283 Doubles 
21 Triples
374 Home Runs (61st All-time)
1159 RBI 
3177 Total Bases 

Awards
6 All-Star Appearances
MVP Votes in 6 Seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Batting Average – Twice
On-base % – Five times 
Slugging % - Eight times (Led league in 1958)
OPS – Six times
Runs - Four times
Hits – Once
Doubles – Five times
Home Runs – Nine times (Led league in 1959)
RBI – Nine times (Led league in 1965)
Walks – Seven times (Led league in 1965)
Total Bases – Eight times (Led league in 1962 & 1965)
Intentional Walks -Four times
Extra-base  Hits – Eight times (Led league in 1958 & 1959)
Games – Six times (Led league in 1961 & 1965)
At Bats – Three times

Rocky certainly could hit the ball out of the park.  He had seven seasons with 30+ HRs, including five straight 35+ HR seasons (1958-1962).  He had 11 straight seasons of 20+ HRs.  He had over 100 RBI in six seasons.  Not exactly known for his defense, he finished the 1962 season without an error.  He was wildy popular with Cleveland fans.  If his career average was better, I wouldn’t be so hesitant to make a call.  I do believe he was one of the best players of his generation, which is something I use to determine Hall of Fame worthiness.  It’s not a slam dunk, but Rocky Colavito barely slides by in my book. 

References
Baseball Reference

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire
Bobby Matthews
Tommy John
Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Jim Rice
Ted Simmons
Lee Smith
Jack Morris
Al Oliver
Steve Garvey
Jim Kaat
Pete Ro$e
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Dave Concepcion
Lou Whitaker
Alan Trammell
Ron Santo
Ron Guidry
Gil Hodges
Dave Parker
Tony Mullane
Keith Hernandez
Don Mattingly
Dwight Evans
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Harold Baines
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Joe Carter
Rusty Staub
Gary Gaetti
Jimmy Ryan
George Van Haltren
Roger Maris
Lance Parrish
Mo Vaughn
Mark Grace
Dennis Martinez
Chuck Finley
Fred McGriff
Wes Parker
Steve Finley
Orlando Cepeda
Albert Belle
Willie Randolph
Graig Nettles
Luis Gonzalez
Lefty O’Doul

Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |
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40 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Larry Novak
    March 31st, 2008 at 9:11 am #

    I remeber seeing Rocky play as a Young one. He was a terrific talent and with the numbers you present I would say Yes he should be in.

  2. Ryan Lester
    March 31st, 2008 at 9:15 am #

    larry – cool

  3. Scott Wagner
    June 18th, 2008 at 9:57 pm #

    Yes Rocky should be in,his numbers are better than a lot of players that are in.

  4. LestersLegends
    June 18th, 2008 at 9:58 pm #

    Scott – This is true.

  5. Larry Novak
    June 19th, 2008 at 7:58 am #

    As a young kid even though I was a Yankee fan there were some players on other teams that were among my favorites, Rocky Colovito was one of them. I think he played part of a season with the Yankees late in his career. Other players I was a big fan of was Tony Conigliaro, Ron Hunt, Sandy Koufax,
    and Frank Howard. A couple of years ago when in Cooperstown I found a 8×10 Black and white photo of Ted Williams with a very young Tony Conigliaro. well I bought it and it hangs on my Sports wall with mostly Yankees but includes Cal ripkin from the 2131 day, Hank Aaron and Bobby Orr.

  6. LestersLegends
    June 19th, 2008 at 8:05 am #

    Very cool. When I went to Cooperstown as a kid I got postcards that showed the busts of a few Hall of Famers. Naturally I got Ted Williams and Cy Young. The other two I got were Yankees (Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig). I loved Clemens as a kid, but was equally into Doc Gooden.

  7. BraystreetLad
    September 30th, 2008 at 8:28 am #

    I remember “The Rock’s 7-for-10 game in the Tigers’ 22-inning,seven-hour
    9-7 loss to the Yankees June 24,1962.I was just shy of nine,and my fa-
    ther and I listened to that game on the radio in our kitchen-all seven
    hours of it.When Colavito had his tenth at-bat of the game,he engaged in
    his usual gyrations with the bat at the plate.Yankees left-hander Whitey
    Ford saw him and yelled,”Hey,Rock,aren’t you warmed up yet?”But to me,
    Colavito falls just short of Cooperstown.

  8. LestersLegends
    September 30th, 2008 at 8:29 am #

    Bray – Thanks for sharing. I can go either way with him.

  9. Larry Novak
    October 1st, 2008 at 1:07 pm #

    I love that picture of Rocky and yogi together.
    I have several pictures of stars from 2 teams
    My Favorite one is Mantle and Aaron

  10. LestersLegends
    October 1st, 2008 at 1:13 pm #

    I like the Ted Williams-Joe D. one

  11. Steve Portias
    October 25th, 2008 at 1:26 pm #

    Being 59 years old, as many my age were Micky Mantle and Yankee fans, (since 1962 Angels fan. But, I never overlooked Rocky Colavito…I always even as a young boy thought he was awesome…puttling him in the same small group as Mantle, Williams, Aaron, Banks, Musual, and Mays…. I have always said he has been the most unreconized for his accomplishments and stats. He was consistant through many years, just was over shaddowed by Maris and the names above. I wish more people would give him more concideration for the Hall of Fame…. “Rocky you were one of the all time greats in my book”. Wish I knew how to phone you directly and tell you this.
    Steve Portias
    (909)-886-3822

  12. LestersLegends
    October 25th, 2008 at 2:01 pm #

    Steve – Thanks for sharing your knowledge and passion for Rocky

  13. Larry Novak
    October 25th, 2008 at 6:45 pm #

    Steve, Great Comments. I Love your passion for Rocky.

  14. LestersLegends
    October 25th, 2008 at 8:59 pm #

    Agree Larry.

  15. BraystreetLad
    October 28th, 2008 at 9:09 am #

    I remember the Tigers’ legendary announcer,Ernie Harwell’s,sometimes
    saying,”Don’t knock The Rock,”an homage to the Little Richard late 50′s
    hit from the movie of the same name,when Colavito stepped to the plate,
    especially if Rocky were slumping.

  16. LestersLegends
    October 28th, 2008 at 9:16 am #

    Nice. Thanks for adding Bray.

  17. 2009 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot | 1800blogger
    December 8th, 2008 at 9:11 am #

    [...] Albert Belle Jim Bottomley* Pete Browning Jim Bunning * Bert Byleven Joe Carter Orlando Cepeda* Rocky Colavito Earle Combs* Dave Concepcion David Cone Roger Connor* Larry Corcoran Mike Cuellar Bill Dahlen [...]

  18. rocky rose
    January 19th, 2009 at 8:57 am #

    rocky is not only a hof ball player but a hof person. as a kid rocky was my favorite(still is). when coaching for clev. in 1974 or 75 i got to meet him and he autographed a couple of my cards and we talked for 15-20 min. was just a wonderful man. i felt like i was 10 again. he personlized a topps 1964 supersized card he said what’s your first name i said it’s rocky whered you get that name i said i got it from you. the card says to rocky best wishes rocky colavito i’ll keep it forever. it’s nice to know that your heroes a really great person too.

  19. LestersLegends
    January 19th, 2009 at 9:00 am #

    Rocky – awesome. thanks for sharing your wonderful story.

  20. Mark
    January 27th, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    Rocky was an exciting star. He was part of the last group of “throwback” players who played the game because they loved it, not because they were paid an obscene amount of money like today. The name “Rocky” made him bigger than life. I’m 55 and Rocky is still my ALL-TIME FAVORITE!

  21. LestersLegends
    January 27th, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    There are still a few guys like that today, but they are few and far between. Thanks for sharing your passion about Rocky.

  22. steve quinn
    May 11th, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    I am 61. When I was 13 I saw Rocky hit a line drive home run in Yankee Stadium. It instantly appeared rolling back into the infield. It was a miracle it didn’t take the head off of the 3RD baseman or even the left fielder!! FOR REAL!!! Hardest hitter ever. Also threw out runner at home from outfield wall, a perfect strike. All called by the scooter. Great childhood memory.

  23. LestersLegends
    May 11th, 2009 at 9:13 pm #

    thanks for adding steve. i love stories like that

  24. Cooperstown Chronicles - Stan Coveleski :: Elites TV
    May 13th, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

    [...] Albert Belle Jim Bottomley* Pete Browning Jim Bunning * Bert Byleven Joe Carter Orlando Cepeda* Rocky Colavito Earle Combs* Dave Concepcion David Cone Roger Connor* Larry Corcoran Mike Cuellar Bill Dahlen [...]

  25. Cooperstown Chronicles - Waite Hoyt | Fantasy Sports Blog
    May 20th, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    [...] Albert Belle Jim Bottomley* Pete Browning Jim Bunning * Bert Byleven Joe Carter Orlando Cepeda* Rocky Colavito Earle Combs* Dave Concepcion David Cone Roger Connor* Larry Corcoran Stan Coveleski* Mike Cuellar [...]

  26. Cooperstown Chronicles - Waite Hoyt | 1800blogger
    May 20th, 2009 at 1:59 pm #

    [...] Albert Belle Jim Bottomley* Pete Browning Jim Bunning * Bert Byleven Joe Carter Orlando Cepeda* Rocky Colavito Earle Combs* Dave Concepcion David Cone Roger Connor* Larry Corcoran Stan Coveleski* Mike Cuellar [...]

  27. Frank M
    May 24th, 2009 at 8:54 am #

    I am a clevland fan and Rocky’s the top of my list, 4 homers in a row an 59, and his stats are impressive. His flat feet kept him form a higher batting ave. I hope he get’s in soon.
    He also could pitch, and has a 0 ERA.

  28. LestersLegends
    May 24th, 2009 at 9:45 am #

    To play Devil’s Advocate, Mark Whiten hit 4 hrs in a game. That said I hope he gets in too

  29. Cooperstown Chronicles - Kiki Cuyler | Fantasy Sports Blog
    May 28th, 2009 at 7:46 am #

    [...] Albert Belle Jim Bottomley* Pete Browning Jim Bunning * Bert Byleven Joe Carter Orlando Cepeda* Rocky Colavito Earle Combs* Dave Concepcion David Cone Roger Connor* Larry Corcoran Stan Coveleski* Mike Cuellar [...]

  30. Cooperstown Chronicles - Kiki Cuyler | 1800blogger
    May 28th, 2009 at 7:47 am #

    [...] Albert Belle Jim Bottomley* Pete Browning Jim Bunning * Bert Byleven Joe Carter Orlando Cepeda* Rocky Colavito Earle Combs* Dave Concepcion David Cone Roger Connor* Larry Corcoran Stan Coveleski* Mike Cuellar [...]

  31. kathy
    September 29th, 2009 at 8:26 am #

    I wrote a letter to Rocky Colavito when i was 13 yeara old back in 1957.Rocky wrote back to me and i have his letter.How can i contact him.It`s a wonderful letter from him in his own hand writing. Thanks Kathy!

  32. LestersLegends
    September 29th, 2009 at 8:29 am #

    Very cool Kathy. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Dan the Man
    October 27th, 2009 at 9:30 am #

    Rocky sent me a very personal letter back in 2003 after he received my ‘flare in the air’ letter that I directed his way. I show EVERYONE this letter to show just what a remarkable human being he has always been. The letter was as uplifting as a Bible passage! Do YOU want to help Rocky? Really? Well, there’s a website that a fellow rcolavito@yahoogroups.com member and I have worked on just in the hopes to help Rocky get into HOF. Here’s link:

    http://www.rockycolavitofans.com/

    Towards the bottom, there’s a link to the petition that we have filed online for Rocky fans to sign. We need MORE signatures! If you don’t want to see our Rocky Colavito website, then go directly to the petition to sign here:

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/rockycolavitofans/

    Please….sign for Rocky. His absence is just not right! As someone above has stated: Mantle, Mays, Musial, Williams, Aaron, Banks, COLAVITO! That name belongs!!!

    Thank you, in advance for signing for Rocky….it only takes a couple of clicks and a few keystrokes! Please sign it for him.

    Dan Miller

  34. Dan the Man
    October 27th, 2009 at 9:36 am #

    Just one more thing….

    A dear woman named Gloria G. did 90% of the Rocky website. I helped her on the petition contents. But it was dear Gloria that picked up the ball and ran with it. Give Gloria the MVP for Rocky Colavito movement here!

    Again, please go to the website and/or petition site to cast your vote and personal view for Rocky Colavito for the National Baseball Hall of Fame! Thank you!

    Dan

  35. LestersLegends
    October 27th, 2009 at 9:39 am #

    Thanks for sharing Dan & Gloria. I signed the petition. I urge others to do so as well.

  36. richard dentino
    November 12th, 2009 at 6:35 am #

    Rocky’s career numbers are better than some of the power hitters now in the Hall of Fame. He played 13 seasons ( not 14 because 9 AB’s in 1955 isn’t a season )

  37. LestersLegends
    November 12th, 2009 at 8:01 am #

    I hear ya. Just going by what baseball-reference.com listed.

  38. tom
    November 29th, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

    as a kid rocky was my baseball hero–iv’e had no others–nice to read that he was a great person also–as a little leaguer–i had a colavito bat that was to big for me but it said “rocky colavito”–it would be nice to see him in the hall of fame

  39. LestersLegends
    November 29th, 2009 at 8:25 pm #

    He touched so many lives. Thanks for sharing.

  40. John Kandiguranis
    January 16th, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    Rocky was Mr. Baseball to all of us playing baseballs in Ohio. A true baseball hero on and off the field of play. Rocky Colavito was a feared hitter as any contemporary of the day. He belongs in the Hall of Fame.

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