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Matt Holliday's first Rockies homer since 2008 was nostalgic and clutch

·Yahoo Sports Contributor
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  • Matt Holliday
    Matt Holliday

An old friend may prove to be the perfect new addition to the Colorado Rockies roster.

Matt Holliday, who last played in Colorado during the 2008 season, returned to the Rockies earlier this week after impressing the ballclub during a brief minor-league stint.

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The 38-year-old outfielder had gone unsigned until landing the Rockies minor-league deal on July 28. He was brought in to see if he had enough left to provide some much-needed thump off Colorado’s bench.

He seemed to have plenty left on Saturday night, delivering a pinch-hit home run during the seventh inning of Colorado’s 9-1 win against the St. Louis Cardinals.

A touch of nostalgia

The home run was Holliday’s first in a Rockies uniform since Sept. 12, 2008. That’s a span covering 3,634 days.

It understandably had Rockies fans feeling nostalgic. After all, Holliday was the author of several memorable moments in Rockies history, especially during their remarkable run to the World Series in 2007.

Fittingly, the Rockies paid tribute to the most memorable of those moments before Saturday’s game, showing Holliday sporting “I Touched Home” on his supposed Players Weekend jersey.

That’s in reference to the controversial final play of the 2007 NL Wild-Card Tiebreaker Game. Holliday was ruled safe at home on Jamey Carroll’s walk-off sacrifice fly, but the debate has raged on for over a decade over whether Holliday ever really touched home plate. You might even be able to point at that game as the reason both replay and wild-card play-in games now exist in MLB.

Regardless, it’s a moment that will live forever in Rockies lore.

The home run was pretty clutch too

As for that jersey. It’s a fake. The Rockies definitely photoshopped it.

As for the moment Saturday night. It was as real as real gets.

Holliday’s solo shot broke a scoreless tie in what had been a fantastic pitching duel. The blast drove Rockies fans into a frenzy, and it woke up Colorado’s bat. The Rockies erupted thereafter, scoring eight runs in the eighth inning.

Matt Holliday delivered his first Rockies home run since 2008 in nostalgic and dramatic fashion. (AP)
Matt Holliday delivered his first Rockies home run since 2008 in nostalgic and dramatic fashion. (AP)

Holliday’s road back to the Rockies

Holliday was a three-time All-Star during his first Rockies stint, which began in 2004. He hit the first 128 of his now 315 career home runs in a Rockies uniform, but ended up pricing himself out of their range thanks to his success.

The Rockies traded Holliday to the Oakland Athletics following the 2008 season for a return that included Carlos Gonzalez. The deal worked out well for Colorado. Since that moment, Gonzalez has been one of the Rockies cornerstones. Fittingly, he was in the lineup Saturday, collecting three hits in the victory.

Holliday lasted half a season in Oakland before being traded to St. Louis at the trade deadline. He’d go on to spend eight seasons and hit 156 home runs in St. Louis. Most important to him, he won a World Series title there in 2011.

Holliday’s had trouble staying healthy since the 2015. He appeared in just 105 games for the New York Yankees last season due to injury and illness. Still, he’d been fairly productive when he stayed on the field. With that in mind, being a part-time starter/pinch-hitter in Colorado may just be the perfect fit for him too.

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