The Colorado Rockies have some fairly impressive hitting records for a young franchise. Larry Walker holds the single season batting average mark at .379 in 1999 and he set the slugging mark in 1997 at .720. Andres Gallaraga drove in 150 runs in 1996. Walker and Todd Helton have had 49-homer seasons and Helton hit 59 doubles in 2000.
But one thing the Rockies don't seem to like to do is hit triples. Despite the deep gaps at Coors Field, the Rockies have never had a lot of sluggers who were fast enough to make it three bases most of the time. And the single season triples is held by a trio of some of the least impressive hitters in Colorado history.
When Perez hit 11 triples in 1999, he broke his old franchise record of 10 set in 1997. He did that in just 83 games and he even got some Rookie of the Year votes. Then again, Kevin Orie got some Rookie of the Year consideration in 1997.
In 1999, Perez batted mainly in the leadoff or #2 slot and got seven of his triples at Coors Field. He also got nine of them as a left-handed hitter. The four triples hit on the road came in Arizona, New York, Philadelphia, and San Diego. The 11 triples helped Perez to an OPS+ of 61 on the season. But Perez did tie for the NL lead with Bobby Abreu of the Phillies.
The next year, Perez again worked his triples magic. And again, the left side of the plate was where Neifi did his damage, getting 10 of the 11 triples from that side. And again, 7 of the 11 were hit at Coors Field. The other four came at Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Montreal, and New York. And thanks to an increase in doubles from 27 to 39, Perez raised his OPS+ all the way to 66.
Neifi was on a record triples pace again in 2001, hitting 8 in the Rockies first 87 games, but Colorado packaged him off to Kansas City in a 3-team deal that saw Jermaine Dye ending up in Oakland. He would hit just one in 49 games with the Royals in 2001.
But there were new triples specialists for the Rockies in 2001. Second-year player Juan Pierre, getting a chance to lead off most of the season, matched Perez's record of 11 triples. And Pierre did most of his work on the road, hitting just three triples at Coors Field. Pierre hit one in Chicago, one in Los Angeles, one in Montreal, one in Oakland, one in San Diego, one in San Francisco, and two in Arlington. The record-tying 11th came on September 27, 2001 against Bobby Jones of the Padres at Coors Field. Pierre's OPS+ in 2001 was 89.
But Pierre had company in his triples onslaught. 21-year old Juan Uribe replaced Perez at shortstop and in just 72 games, he also belted 11 triples. Uribe tied Pierre and Perez's mark on the second to last day of the season on October 6, 2001 against Brian Tollberg of the Padres. Uribe went 6 for 13 in the final three games of the year to bring his season's batting average to an even .300. Uribe hit 8 of the triples at Coors Field (a franchise record) and the other 3 at San Diego. Uribe finished with an OPS+ of 98. The following year, he was the fulltime shortstop and had an OPS+ of 52. Uribe and Pierre finished one behind Jimmy Rollins for the NL lead in triples.
The only other major league player since 1900 to hit 11 triples in 72 or fewer games played in a season was Fred Clarke of the Pirates in 1904.
Cory Sulllivan made a run at the Rockies triples record last season, but came up one short with 10. Sullivan hit his 10th triple on August 16, but failed to get another one during the rest of the year. Sullivan also had two triples in one inning on April 9 against the Padres, the first NL player to do that in 80 years and the first in the majors since 1951.
Presently, Kazuo Matsui leads the Rockies this season in triples with 6, so Neifi, Juan, and Juan will likely keep their place in the record book for another year.