Bichette recalls 'electric' first Rockies home game

Bichette recalls 'electric' first Rockies home game

SAN FRANCISCO -- Colorado Rockies hitting coach Dante Bichette celebrated an anniversary of sorts Tuesday.

It was 20 years ago that Bichette was on a Rockies expansion team that played the first Major League game in Colorado.

The Rockies beat the Montreal Expos, 11-4, before a crowd of 80,227 at Mile High Stadium, a Major League attendance record for a home opener that still stands. The victory on April 9, 1993, was the first in Rockies history.

"What I remember is 80,000 people," Bichette said. "Electric."

Eric Young Sr. homered for the Rockies in the first inning. Bryn Smith got the win. And Bichette? He went 1-for-3 and drove in a pair of runs.

Bichette said he remembers former team owner Jerry McMorris talking to the team before the game, saying, "'The sky's the limit for you guys here. People are here. They love baseball.'

"We were a bunch of misfits, an expansion team, coming from all over the place. It was a lot of fun. It was a good time to be a Rockie. It will be tough to match those days for Colorado. It was beautiful, for Denver and Colorado.

"A lot of people were wondering if we could support baseball. We were supporting baseball. We were filling it up. That whole year was a beautiful year."

Bichette, who played seven seasons for the Rockies and 14 overall in the big leagues, is in his first season on the Rockies' Major League staff. He said it's hard to believe 20 years have passed since that first game in Denver.

"My knees are feeling it," he joked. "And my eyes are feeling it. It was a long time ago, but this year, we've had one homestand, and some of the same people are still there. Some of the same fans are still there."

Eric Gilmore is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.