Rockies’ Vinny Castilla recalls 1998 Home Run Derby at Coors Field: “I still get goosebumps.”

Major League Baseball’s announcement Tuesday that the All-Star Game is returning to Denver for the first time since 1998 brought back a flood of memories for Vinny Castilla.

Castilla, now the Rockies’ special assistant to the general manager, played in the ’98 game and also competed in that year’s Home Run Derby. He failed to advance past the semifinals in the derby and went 0-for-2 as a reserve in the game, but lists that weekend as a career highlight.

“One of the best moments of my career as a baseball player is when they announced my name for the Home Run Derby,” Castilla said. “The fans gave me a standing ovation. That was unbelievable. I still remember that and I still get goosebumps on my skin when I do.”

After hitting seven homers for a combined 2,998 feet to advance out of the first round, Castilla’s five bombs in the second round weren’t good enough to get him to the finals, where Seattle’s Ken Griffey Jr. beat Cleveland’s Jim Thome.

“He put on a show,” Castilla said of Griffey.

The next day, Castilla came off the bench in the sixth inning to play third base in place of Atlanta’s Chipper Jones. Castilla popped up to the catcher and lined out to center in the two at-bats of what ended up being his second and final all-star appearance.

Castilla earned his first all-star nod in ’95 as a starter, but it was 1998 that was his career season. After first breaking into the majors with the Braves in ’91, Castilla didn’t become a full-time starter until arriving in Colorado in ’93. He played all 162 games in ’98, posting a career-high 46 homers while slashing .319/.362/.589 to win the final of three Silver Slugger awards.

The ’98 derby memories Castilla holds near-and-dear stand in stark contrast to Charlie Blackmon’s take on the event. The Rockies outfielder, who lost in the first round of the 2017 derby in Miami, said he wouldn’t recommend that teammate Trevor Story try the event this year. If a Colorado player is selected for the derby — a strong possibility considering the host team usually has an entrant — the slugging Story would certainly be the pick.

“I don’t think it’s very good physically for you,” Blackmon said. “I don’t like how they ask you to swing as hard as you can for four minutes (in a timed round), which is something I’m not trained to do. I never practice it nor would I ever practice it… And (Story) is a really important part of our team and I don’t want him to get hurt.”

Blackmon acknowledged the event is “really exciting, and that’s what the fans want to see.” So, in that vein, he lobbied for Coors Field staff to turn off the humidor that weekend and let the balls fly.

“They should just hit moon balls,” Blackmon said.

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