DENVER — Bud Black seemed destined from a young age to be a major league manager.
At 16, Black began his career coaching the Booman little league team in Washington, overseeing players only four years younger than him.
"I loved it," Black said, adding that he still remembers the pizza parties they had at Little Caesars.
Now, thanks to a 9-4 Rockies win over the Dodgers on Sunday, Black has hit another career milestone: 1000 career wins. He's the 66th skipper to reach that mark and the eighth active. Black did it in just his 15th season.
“I like math. It’s a nice round number,” Bud Black on his 1000th career win pic.twitter.com/0E4T6fXlBj— Danielle Allentuck (@d_allentuck) April 10, 2022
The team celebrated their manager with a beer shower and a round of tributes, which Black said he's never going to forget.
"That's a tribute to the players that I've had and the two teams that I've managed who had faith in me to manage a club," he said. "The players, the coaches, the front office, the people behind the scenes, they are all part of this."
After a 15-year playing career, Black began his managing career with the Padres in 2007. He still knows every detail about that first game — a 7-0 win over the Giants, his favorite team growing up — and the celebration he had after at Mortons, a restaurant across the street from the stadium.
"I was anxious," he said. "That was a good game."
Black started with the Rockies in 2017, and last year earned his 300th win with the franchise. Now he has his 351st, with another year still to go on his contract.
"I like math. It's a round number," Black said. "I said let's get another one tomorrow. It's about tomorrow again."
The Rockies didn't make it easy at times for Black on Sunday though. They scored three runs in each of the first and third inning to give them a 6-0 lead, but the Dodgers came back to bite in the fourth. Antonio Senzatela, who was able to hold the Dodgers at bay for the first three innings, allowed the bases to get loaded. He was taken out after giving up one run, and the Dodgers were able to tack on three more after a fielding error in left field by Kris Bryant. He got caught in the wind, and his inexperience playing in the Coors Field outfield — it's just his third game — were to blame for that play.
But the Rockies added on some insurance runs with a two-run homer from Elias Díaz. Ty Blach, the Denver native who went to 30 or 40 games a year at Coors Field growing up, pitched three scoreless innings of relief to secure the milestone for Black.
"It's special," C.J. Cron, who hit a two-run home run on Sunday, said. "It's a lot of wins. You don't just wake up one day and have 1000 wins. He's a players manager and we all love playing for him. I'm super honored to be a part of it."