THIS DAY IN SPORTS: Can Coors Field hold a baseball?


This Day In Sports…May 19, 1999:

The mile-high air of Denver brings a record-setting day at Coors Field. The Cincinnati Reds blasted the Colorado Rockies, 24-12, as the two teams broke a 76-year-old big league record with 81 total bases. The Reds pounded out 28 hits, 15 of them for extra bases to tie a National League record. Among them were three home runs by Jeffrey Hammonds, a feat that would have been the headline story on any other day. (To calculate extra bases, of course, you simply add one base for singles, two for doubles, three for triples, and four for home runs.)

Homers at Coors Field are the stuff of legend. The Rockies played their first two seasons at Mile High Stadium before the new ballpark opened in 1995—with fences placed extraordinarily far from home plate. Nevertheless, in Coors Field’s second year, there were a record 271 home runs hit there. And later in that 1999 season, the current Major League record of 303 was set. 

However, studies showed in 2002 that dry air contributed mightily to the flight of the ball in Denver, so a humidor room was installed at Coors Field to store baseballs and soften their hides. Amazingly, home run counts dropped, and now (believe it or not) the annual average is closer to 200. Also amazingly, steroids aren’t mentioned much when those run barrages around the turn of the century are chronicled.

There are still lots of doubles and triples at Coors, and the runs continue to be plentiful. There have only been ten 1-0 games in the stadium’s history, and all of them have happened in the “humidor era.” Only one no-hitter has been thrown at Coors Field—that was in 1996, long before the humidor arrived, when Hideo Nomo of the L.A. Dodgers blanked the Rockies 9-0.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)


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