Former Colorado Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs left spring training in Arizona on Feb. 15 and headed to Woodland Park.
The seven-year veteran, who now works for the club as a television analyst, was in town as the featured guest at the annual Help The Needy Sweetheart Ball and to address members of the Woodland Park and Cripple Creek-Victor baseball teams.
“I’m a reflection of a lot of people,” Spilborghs told the small gathering in the Woodland Park gymnasium. “I never did it by myself. I had a lot of help and support.”
Spilborghs talked about his days in high school and club ball, and his collegiate career at the University of California, Santa Barbara through his time in the Rockies’ organizations, which also included parts of five seasons with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
“I played on 40 teams,” the personable Spilborghs said. “I was the best player on 10 teams. I was the worst player on 10 teams.”
Spilborghs was the Rockies’ seventh round selection on the 2002 major league amateur draft. He hit .272 in his career from 2005-11. He played in the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers organizations in 2012, and finished his playing career in Japan with the Seibu Lions in 2013.
Spilborghs helped the Rockies win the National League Championship in 2007 and played in all four games of that year’s World Series against the Boston Red Sox.
“Hearing him talk motivates everyone and we get some insight on do’s and don’ts,” said Woodland Park junior catcher Garrett Richardson. “And it’s awesome to see him still involved in Major League Baseball.”
Woodland Park baseball coach Neil Levy arranged for Spilborghs to speak at the school.
“Ryan was not the best player,” Levy said. “He had to work harder than everyone else. Hopefully our guys take something away from his story.”
Lou Levy, Neil’s son, is a senior second baseman for the Panthers.
“This is good for us to hear what it’s like to be in the major leagues,” Lou said. “To work that hard to achieve something. He motivates all of us.
“We’re from a small town and we might not have all the resources available that some other schools or people do.”
Neil Levy presented Spilborghs with a Woodland Park jersey.