Farewell to the One and Only, Spilly (Ryan Spilborghs)

It was reported today that Ryan Spilborghs signed a minor league contract to play for the Cleveland Indians. To say that this is a sad day for Rockies' fans would be putting it lightly. It's mortifying. It was apparent that Spilly wasn't going back to the Rockies, but I didn't want it to be true. As long as he was a free agent that meant there was still a very, very, very small chance that he could be back in purple. Now, there's no chance at all. Spilly was the most entertaining player the Rockies have ever had on their team. Yes, even more entertaining than Dante Bichette. He might not have put up tremendous numbers, but he always played hard and he always had a good time. There's a lot to be said about a player that sparks team chemistry. Instead of being sad about this, I'm going to find the silver lining...much like the glittery lining found on the Rockies' black vest jerseys. Let's take a look back at the man they call Spilly...

We undoubtedly have to start this thing off with his 2009 walk-up song:



Ryan Spilborghs played college baseball at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Spilly had a wonderful college career, where he earned two All-Big West honors and helped his team to an NCAA tournament berth in 2001. He holds two UCSB school records with a 35-game hit streak and 13 sacrifice bunts in 2001. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 2002 draft by the Colorado Rockies. He signed his first deal with the Rockies on June 11, 2002 and made his major league debut at the age of 25 on July 16, 2005. He played all seven of his MLB seasons with the Rockies and has a career line of .272/.345/.423. He had a productive season in 2007 that helped the Rockies win the National League Pennant and sent them to their first ever World Series.

Spilly's greatest moment with the Rockies came on August 24, 2009 when he hit the Rockies' first ever walk-off grand slam to beat the San Francisco Giants in the 14th inning. Check it out...
 
He ran as if it were an inside-the-park home run. Doesn't it just bring a smile to your face?

Spilly has an unparalleled sense of humor and personality. I remember back when I met Spilly before a game in 2010 and he signed a unique item for me. I was sitting in my seat watching batting practice when he walked over and started signing autographs for fans. I wanted to get something signed, but I didn't have anything on me to get signed except for a dollar bill. I handed the dollar to Spilly and without a beat he stuck the dollar in his back pocket. He said, "Thanks." I said, "Well, now I guess you have to dance." (Yes, I felt stupid as I was saying that). He took the dollar out of his pocket and said, "I'd rather just sign the dollar now." He signed the dollar and drew a mustache on George Washington's upper lip. The Spilly dollar has a permanent spot next to my work desk. Spilly even had his own show with the Rockies called "Spill the Beans". Here are two of the episodes:


He was a fan favorite in Colorado and he will always be remembered as one of the greatest personalities to ever play in a Rockies' uniform. The Cleveland Indians are fortunate to have such a great teammate and player joining their club. I hope that he's given more opportunities in Cleveland than he was given in Colorado. He's a good player that needs some repetition and stability. Good luck to you and your family in Cleveland, Spilly! Say "Hi" to Ubaldo for us. I'll be rooting for you guys. Hope to see you in October.

Below are a couple articles about Ryan Spilborghs that attest to his personality and abilities:

"S.B. Born Spilborghs Cleans Up in Colorado: Native Son"
"Ryan Spilborghs on Real Gauchos"


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