Introducing… Dante Bichette

One of the top sluggers of the 1990s, Bichette posted seven consecutive seasons–his entire tenure with the Colorado Rockies–with a slugging average that never dipped below .500.  A four-time All-Star and five-time 100 RBI man, Big Man Bichette gave the Rockies some thunder in their strong lineup during their early years.

Drafted by the Angels in 1984, Bichette toiled in the minors for a few years before he was given a shot in the show in 1988.  The Angels had a decent outfield with power hitters Tony Armas and Chili Davis and a young center fielder named Devon White.  Needless to say, starting opportunities weren’t given Bichette.  The Angels made room for Dante in 1990 and he responded by belting 15 homeruns.  But California had a glut of outfielders and opted to ship Bichette to Milwaukee for aging designated hitter Dave Parker.

After two middling years with the Brewers Dante was involved in one of the most lopsided deals in baseball history when the Brew Crew swapped him to Colorado for outfielder Kevin Reimer.  Things would click for Bichette in Colorado and he became an elite run producer in the heart of the Rockies lineup.

His first year as a Rockie in ’93, Dante paced National League right fielders in runs scored and doubles while hitting a nice .310.  Starting in 1994, Dante kicked off a three-year string of NL All-Star appearances.  In the strike shortened ’94 campaign, Bichette was the only National League outfielder to reach 30 doubles and 25 homeruns.  In top form in 1995, Dante led the senior circuit in hits, homeruns, RBI, slugging average and total bases but missed out on the MVP Award to Barry Larkin.  Dante scored more runs that Larkin while also driving in twice as many runs as the Cincy shortstop.  However, the Rockies made the postseason for the first time in ’95 and Bichette stroked the apple at an amazing .588 clip but in a losing cause.

An All-Star again in ’96, Dante finished second in the NL with 141 RBI.  With Ellis Burks and Larry Walker, Bichette gave the Rockies the only all .500 slugging outfield in the Major Leagues.  More than just a one-trick pony, Dante became a member of the exclusive 30 HR/30 SB club that season.  Shifted to left field in 1997, Dante paced his position peers in RBI and batting average.

For the second time in his career, Dante led the National League in base hits in 1998 with 219.  His 48 doubles were good for second in the NL.  Named to his fourth and final All-Star team, Bichette’s mighty .331 batting average led National League left fielders.  Although he wasn’t an All-Star in 1999, he still played like one.  He led Major League left fielders with 133 RBI.  Never much of a defender, his woes in the pasture caught up with him in ’99 and the Rockies traded him to the Reds for younger outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds and fireman Stan Belinda.

Dante’s bat was fine in Cincinnati but his glove was an ever-increasing problem.  Late in the 2000 season the Reds shipped him to Boston where he could DH for pitcher Chris Reitsma.  Bichette finished out the 2000 season with the Red Sox and returned to Beantown as the regular DH in 2001.  That year, his final in the Majors, he paced designated hitters with an even 30 doubles.

THE NUMBERS

G 1,704/R 934/H 1,906/2B 401/3B 27/HR 274/RBI 1,141/BB 355/SO 1,078/SB 158/BA .299/SA .499

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1 comment
  1. brettkiser said:

    Dante played in the age of the big bopper and didn’t reach 300 career homeruns, at a power position, so he’ll never make the HOF. A stud when he played for the Rockies, Bichette didn’t fair too well when he didn’t play his home games in Colorado. His HOF chances are very weak.

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