How Good Was Dante Bichette?


Before he became the third-most-famous dad of a Toronto Blue Jays starting infielder, Dante Bichette held a similar title in a different barbershop quartet: the Blake Street Bombers. In both groups, Bichette fits comfortably in the George Harrison role as the love-able third cog, the character actor capable of carrying a film (say, as the 3-hole hitter), but nonetheless of tertiary relevance after two obviously-more-famous counterparts (Craig Biggio and Vlad Guerrero, Paul and John, Larry Walker and Andres Galarraga). Along with Vinny Castilla (who rightly-or-wrongly has fallen into the Ringo role in the Blake Street Bombers), Bichette helped the Rockies to their first playoff appearance in franchise history (1995) and became an indelible part of Colorado baseball history.

Bichette wasn’t destined for stardom, necessarily. He capitalized with a case of perfect time, perfect place. 1995 wasn’t Bichette’s first season as a productive regular, nor was it his best by WAR, but it was his loudest: .340/.364/.620 while leading the league with 40 home runs and 128 RBIs.

It was a feel-good story for both Bichette and the Rockies, the former of whom had found belated stardom at the age of 31, and for the latter, as the organization enjoyed its first taste of success as an MLB franchise. Don Baylor’s club didn’t set the world aflame, but they did scratch out a 77-67 record, good enough to capture the newly instituted Wild Card slot to make the National League playoffs. The Rockies would fall to the Braves in four games and fail to reach the playoffs for the second time in the era of the Blake Street Bombers. They would not return to the playoffs until capturing the Wild Card in 2007, long after Bichette’s departure following the 1999 season.

#baseball, #professional

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