A journeyman first baseman and pinch-hitter, Colbrunn began his career in 1992 with the Montreal Expos and spent his first three seasons in the majors plagued by an assortment of elbow injuries. In 1995, his second season after being acquired off of waivers by the Florida Marlins, Colbrunn became the everyday first baseman for the Fish, batting .277 with 89 RBI. He remained at first in '96 and continued to put up solid numbers.
Colbrunn moved to the Minnesota Twins in 1997, playing in seventy games before a mid-season trade sent him to the Atlanta Braves. He had a successful debut in his first post-season, going 3 for 4 as a pinch-hitter. Colbrunn had a similar season in '98, beginning the year with the Colorado Rockies before being sent back to the Braves for the second consecutive post-season.
Picked up as a free agent by the Arizona Diamondbacks prior to the 1999 season, Colbrunn became one of the top pinch-hitters in the majors, batting .375 off the bench. In 2000, with consistent playing time, he hit .313, smacked 15 home runs, and had 57 RBI in 116 games, and set a franchise record by reaching base in nine consecutive plate appearances.
In spite of Colbrunn’s encouraging numbers, Arizona went looking for more power, signing veteran Mark Grace prior to the 2001 season. Colbrunn remained an important component as a bench player, thanks to his pinch-hitting ability and defensive versatility -- he played third base, outfield, and was even the D-Backs' emergency catcher.
Colbrunn had a penchant for getting hit by pitches. In 1999, he was hit by pitches on three consecutive at-bats, and in 2000 he was hit four times in four games.
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FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»July 18, 1995:
The Marlins score a 12-10, 14-inning victory over the Giants. Florida is led by 1B Greg Colbrunn, who drives in seven runs on two home runs.
»August 4, 1997: The Twins beat the Blue Jays, 9–3, as Brad Radke ties a team record with his 12th straight win. Greg Colbrunn's pinch-hit grand slam, off Chris Carpenter, is the big blow. Radke is only the 3rd pitcher since 1950 to win 12 consecutive starts. Bob Gibson of St. Louis did it in 1968 and Pat Dobson did it with Baltimore in 1971.
»August 14, 1997:
The Twins trade 1B Greg Colbrunn to the Braves in exchange for a player to be named.
»July 30, 1998:
The Braves obtain IF Greg Colbrunn from the Rockies in exchange for minor league Ps David Cortes and Mike Porzio.
»August 19, 2001:
Greg Colbrunn hits a pinch-hitter home run in the Diamondbacks' 13–6 win over the Cubs. Colbrunn's blast is the 13th pinch-hitter round–tripper of the year for Arizona, breaking the NL mark set by the 1957 Reds.
»September 18, 2002: The Diamondbacks trounce the Padres, 10–3, as 1B Greg Colbrunn hits for the cycle. Colbrunn adds a 2nd home run among five hits and drives home four runs for Arizona. Colbrunn is the first player to hit two home runs in a game while hitting for the cycle since George Brett (May 28, 1979).