The applause inside the visitors’ clubhouse was loud and sustained as the Rockies celebrated closer LaTroy Hawkins late Saturday night.
They also presented him with a signed bottle of Dom Perignon.
And why not? It’s not often that a teammate joins a baseball fraternity that includes the likes of Mariano Rivera, Dennis Eckersley, Hoyt Wilhelm, Trevor Hoffman and Goose Gossage.
The 41-year-old Hawkins made the 1,000th appearance of his major-league career, becoming just the 16th pitcher to hit that magical mark. For the record, he has 124 saves and has pitched 1,428 2/3 innings in his career.
Hawkins entered the game against the Dodgers with two outs in the eighth inning. He got Darwin Barney to fly out to right field to end the inning.
“A lot of managers had a lot of faith in me,” Hawkins said. “A lot of good teammates, a lot of good mentors in the game. Plenty of blessings from the man upstairs to stay healthy.”
Rockies manager Walt Weiss was able to put aside another difficult road defeat — a 6-5, 12-inning loss — to praise Hawkins and put his career in perspective.
“Any time you do anything in this game, and sustain it like Troy has, it’s special,” Weiss said. “Very few people are in that territory, so it was a very special night for LaTroy. It’s a great accomplishment. He’s in some pretty select company now.”
Hawkins, typically, deflected personal praise.
“It’s a very humbling accomplishment,” he said. “(Director of major league operations) Paul Egins was saying, ‘You have taken that walk 1,000 times.’ I said, ‘Yeah, some good, some bad.’”
Hawkins said he wants to pitch one more year, and would love to return to the Rockies, but added, “You just never know.”
MOST APPEARANCES BY AN MLB PITCHER
1. Jesse Orosco (24) 1252 L
2. Mike Stanton (19) 1178 L
3. John Franco (21) 1119 L
4. Mariano Rivera (19) 1115 R
5. Dennis Eckersley+ (24) 1071 R
6. Hoyt Wilhelm+ (21) 1070 R
7. Dan Plesac (18) 1064 L
8. Mike Timlin (18) 1058 R
9. Kent Tekulve (16) 1050 R
10. Trevor Hoffman (18) 1035 R
11. Jose Mesa (19) 1022 R
Lee Smith (18) 1022 R
13. Roberto Hernandez (17) 1010 R
14. Michael Jackson (17) 1005 R
15. Rich Gossage+ (22) 1002 R
16. LaTroy Hawkins (20, 41) 999 R