Slugger's path from Stillwater to Colorado no longer rocky 

During the 2003 season with the Tulsa Drillers, Matt Holliday found himself struggling against Double-A pitching. The usual pop in his bat was missing, and over one span of 52 games, he managed to hit but one home run.

By all accounts, it looked like the Stillwater product was destined to spend a few more seasons honing his skills in the minors.

But fate can be quite fickle in the world of baseball. No one knows that better than Holliday.

ROCKIES
Penciled in to play the 2004 season with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Holliday spent only a week with the minor-league team before he found himself headed north to Denver. Injuries to Colorado Rockies outfielders left the team with no choice but to call up young Holliday.

The move was supposed to be a temporary fix. But Holliday had other ideas.

"It was unexpected, but I saw it as an opportunity to show what I was capable of doing at that level," Holliday said in a 2005 interview with The Denver Post. "I knew if I made an impression with the Rockies management, it would go a long way toward possibly securing my future."

Holliday made his major-league debut on April 16, 2004, and never looked back. Since then, Holliday has developed into one of the most prolific hitters in the National League.

Besides hitting for raw power " as of Monday, he's clubbed 66 home runs over the last two seasons " the 27-year-old player owns a .317 average over his first four seasons with the Rockies. "Jay C. Upchurch

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