Ellis Burks has a strong case to make for being the most underrated position player in Colorado Rockies history.

The Blake Street Bomber is often overlooked in favor of the others but a deeper look at his career numbers reveals a player who, with better injury luck, might have been a no-doubt Hall of Famer.

Burks played the first six years of his career for the Boston Red Sox and proved himself to be an above average player across the board, posting an OPS of .800, hitting 93 home runs, stealing 93 bases, and winning a Gold Glove. 

But there were also some red flags about his health, being limited to 97 games in 1989 and just 66 games in 1992. 

After one decent season with the White Sox, he signed as a free agent in Colorado at 29 years old and immediately brought with him the best of both parts of his resume, posting a fantastic offensive slashline of .322/.388/.678 while only managing to play 42 games.

Sadly for Burks, and surely a part of what tarnishes his legacy a bit, is that his worst season in Denver came in 1995, the year the team made the postseason. He wasn’t awful, putting up an OPS+ of 102, just above the park-and-league adjusted average but he put up a negative 0.4 Wins Above Replacement, the only time apart from the last year of his career where he would do so.

He bounced back in a big way though, answering with the best year of his career in 1996, featuring 40 home runs and 32 stolen bases. He led the National League with 142 runs scored, a .639 slugging percentage, and 392 total bases. He put up 7.9 Wins Above Replacement.

That was one of the best all-around seasons in Rox history as none of Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez, Trevor Story, or Charlie Blackmon ever put up a campaign at the plate (as a Rockie) that ranks as well and only two seasons from Todd Helton and one from Larry Walker have were better in terms of overall WAR.

His injuries limited Burks to just 12 WAR in five years in Colorado, placing him 13th in franchise history which is impressive considering he is 23rd in games played.

A gold glove caliber defender and tremendous athlete in center field, Burks is also fourth in the franchise in OPS+, meaning that on a game-to-game basis, only Walker, Helton, and Holliday were more productive at the plate.  

Much like Troy Tulowitzki many years later, had Ellis Burks managed to stay healthy, he might have gone down as the greatest Rockie of all time, and secured himself a place in Cooperstown.