DENVER -- The Rockies' flags in the left field stands flew at half mast Saturday, and a Rockies jersey with the No. 88 on it hung in the home dugout at Coors Field. Playing their first home game since the tragic death of team president Keli McGregor, the Colorado Rockies paused to pay tribute to the 17-year member of the organization before kicking off the season's first doubleheader.
McGregor, 48, passed away Tuesday morning while on a trip to Salt Lake City to promote the Rockies in the region. McGregor was raised in Colorado, and in his younger days, he thrived on the football field as a two-time All American tight end at Colorado State University, where he wore No. 88, and as a professional player with the Broncos, Colts and Seahawks, before ultimately joining the Rockies organization and serving as the club's president from October 18, 2001, until his death.
Tuesday's unexpected news sent shockwaves through the Rockies' organization as players tried to wrestle with the untimely death of a man noted for his tremendous heart. The Coors Field crowd held a moment of silence in honor of McGregor before watching a video tribute to the community and club leader.
The tribute highlighted McGregor's vision for the Rockies organization, a vision borne out in building a team where character was among the highest traits to consider at every level of play. He presided over the emergence of the farm system that has been the key to Colorado's success, with seven of Saturday's nine starters raised as Rockies.
The video tribute featured everything from memorable clips from McGregor's gridiron glory to images of him celebrating the club's National League pennant in 2007 with champagne showers and a chance to hold the National League Championship trophy. The tribute also captured his role as husband, father and friend, showing McGregor pitching to his young children, and embracing fans and friends with his ever-comforting smile.
The Rockies will hold a memorial service for McGregor at Coors Field Sunday at 11 a.m., and the game will be pushed back two hours to a 3:05 start time. McGregor's wife Lori, his daughters Jordan, Taylor and Landri, and his son Logan will attend the service, along with other family members, friends and his Rockies family, including a number of players who will return from rehabilitation work in Tucson to honor the man who touched so many in his short, full life of purpose.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.