In the past, there were plenty of ex-Rockies in the Fall Classic, leading to easy predicability based on the “Ex-Rockies Factor”. This year is quite different, mainly because the two teams involved, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays, are mostly home-grown, built by drafting and developing players rather than trading for or otherwise obtaining players from other teams. This year we have to go beyond the players to the coaching staff for the Rays, where one of the Rockies most beloved coaches now plies his trade, which always seems to lead him to the dugout of one of the World Series participants. I refer, of course, to “duckie” himself, Don “Popeye” Zimmer, the Senior Baseball Advisor for the Rays. Don was the bench coach in the early years with the Rockies until Don Baylor made him so mad that he walked out in the middle of a game and resurfaced that same season in the World Series with the Yankees. Don has won 6 World Series rings and probably wouldn’t mind getting another one this year. He certainly deserves it, because his fingerprints are all over the current Tampa Bay Team. Zimmer’s baseball career can only be described as awesome, as you can see on Wikipedia here.
For the Phillies, Hitting Coach Milt Thompson played for Colorado for three months in 1996, being released on August 2nd, after only batting 15 times in 14 games, mostly as a pinch hitter, batting .067. Even so, Milt was considered one of the best hitters in the game, hitting .288 or better in 7 of his 13 years in the Major Leagues. The Phillies offensive statistics have improved sharply under his tutelage. We will see how he gets his troops to hit in the clutch when they return to Philadelphia after only going 1-28 with runners on base in the first to games of the World Series.
Mick Billmeyer, the Phillies’ Catching Instructor was released by the Rockies in the Spring of 1994, ending his playing career.
Rudy Seanez, a relief pitcher who is currently not on the playoff roster for Philadelphia, actually pitched for Rockies organization in 1993, primarily in Colorado Springs, though he did spend some time on the Major League roster.
Infielder Andy Tracy is also on the Phillies’ inactive roster, who was a September call-up with the Rockies in 2004, hitting .188 in 16 at bats.
Is this enough to invoke the “ex-Rockie Factor”, which, as you recall, the Baseball Observer noted several years ago, which dictates that the team that wins in the playoffs is the one with the fewest ex-Rockies. In other words, ex-Rockies are a jinx in the playoffs, but do inactive ex-Rockies players and active coaches count? The result of the Fall Classic will tell.