Elias Diaz of the Colorado Rockies not only earned his first MLB All-Star Game selection Sunday but also made history for his franchise.
Named as a reserve for the Midsummer Classic, which will be played July 11 at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Diaz becomes the first catcher in the 30-year history of the Colorado Rockies to receive All-Star Game distinction.
Elias Diaz received his first All-Star Game nod and the first such designation for Colorado Rockies catcher since the franchise’s inaugural year in 1993.
The recognition carries a lot of weight in the eyes of the veteran, who learned of his selection to the National League All-Star Team in an announcement delivered by manager Bud Black in the Rockies clubhouse about 30 minutes before Colorado’s home game against Detroit on Sunday afternoon.
“I was told (of his selection) before the game and it’s an honor,” Diaz told media after Colorado fell 14-9 to the Tigers in the finale of a three-game series between the interleague rivals.
“My name is going to go (down) in history here in Colorado,” added Diaz, who is in his sixth season with the Rockies (ninth year in the Majors). “I take that (accolade) with extreme honor. It’s something special to me. Hopefully, the generations behind me can appreciate it.”
Through games of July 1, Díaz was slashing .285/.339/.457 with 15 doubles, one triple, nine home runs and had collected 45 RBI. He led the Rockies with 21 multi-hit and 13 multi-RBI games while registering two last at-bat hits to win games, including a grand slam June 23 in Colorado’s 7-4 win against the Los Angeles Angels.
Diaz, who was chosen to play for Team Colombia in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, said he was surprised to learn of his inclusion on the NL squad.
“It’s something special, especially the way it happened,” he said, noting that he only had an opportunity to notify family members via text before the game of his selection.
“I wasn’t anticipating it at all and I wasn’t even thinking about it,” he said. “I was very emotional, very grateful. I’m happy that it happened the way it happened. I am grateful for the way the (2023) season has gone. I am grateful for the team, my family’s support. I am truly honored.”
Black noted that his veteran catcher, who hails from Maracaibo, Venezuela, is most deserving of the honor.
“It’s always great to share those moments for the first-time All-Star for a guy who’s been here for a couple of years and has been an integral part of our club at a premium position,” the manager said.
“The care factor for the Rockies, the care factor for the pitchers, his teammates. It’s great,” Black added about Diaz. “It’s understandable, though, he’s pretty quiet. But you can tell there is a big heart in there and a big care for him to get the nod. It’s great stuff. I think the guys were fired up for him.”
Black noted the significance of Diaz being the first catcher in the franchise’s 30-year history to be named an All-Star.
“It’s a premium position,” he said. “In 30 years of Rockies baseball, I can’t name every Rockie catcher or every National League catcher … but I think it’s just a tribute to Elias for what he’s done here….usually most teams try to get a good catcher because it’s a premium position.”
Entering play of July 2, Díaz’s 1.0 defensive WAR was tied for ninth in the National League and ranked third among all Major League catchers. His 13 catcher caught stealings were fourth in MLB while his 28.6 caught stealing percentage ranked fifth among backstops (min. 50 GS).