You could ask me who my first celebrity crush was and I will immediately answer Tulo. That is the nickname given to Major League Baseball shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who has enjoyed a thirteen-year career with three different teams: the Colorado Rockies, Toronto Blue Jays, and New York Yankees.
Tulo is a California native, having been born Santa Clara, and attending high school in Sunnyvale. He has one sister, Tiffany, and one brother, Tyler. Growing up, he idolized Derek Jeter and the Oakland Athletics. Tulo played at southern California’s Long Beach State University, and was drafted in 2005. He debuted in August of 2006 and retired in July of 2019.
Tulo became my favorite player quickly. I had a massive crush on him my entire sixth grade year, and for my language arts class, I wrote a story about him hitting a grand slam. I had a dream about meeting Tulo in person, too! I got to meet Tulo when I was entering the eighth grade and he was so kind and amazing.
During his thirteen-year baseball career, Tulo enjoyed five All-Star Game appearances, two Gold Glove Awards, and two Silver Slugger awards. He was also part of the miraculous 2007 Colorado Rockies season, where the Rockies went from a rough start to the season to appearing in the World Series. That was the year I became a fan of the Rockies.
He has an impressive high school and college resume, too! Tulo earned four varsity letters in baseball in high school, as well as two in basketball. Very impressive, at least in my opinion. What’s even more impressive is his three high school Most Valuable Player awards and the fact he was named to the second team All-State. Just when he couldn’t get any more amazing, he has a 15 win, 1 loss record as a pitcher; a .519 batting average his senior year, and a .536 batting average as a junior.
Tulo’s success only continued in college. At Long Beach State University, he had a .962 fielding percentage, a .391 batting average, and a .471 slugging percentage. As if college Tulo couldn’t get any more impressive, he had 20 home runs, 117 runs batted in, 37 hits to second base, and 31 multi-hit games. His impressive work gained Baseball America’s attention, as he was rated as having the top arm and the best defensive shortstop skills in his team’s division.
Things only went up for Tulo during his collegiate career. He was named to the second team All-Big West in 2003, and first team All-Big West the following year. In addition, he won a Most Outstanding Player award and was selected twice to the All-Region Tournament. Best of all, he won a gold medal with Team USA at the World University Championship! If you ask me, that is an insanely impressive college resume! It’s no wonder why he played a critical role for the Colorado Rockies organization.
One of the most amazing parts of his career was his unassisted triple play against the Atlanta Braves on April 29, 2007. It was the 13th unassisted triple play in the history of Major League Baseball. I don’t know about you, but that is insanely impressive. Getting three people out in one play in a short amount of time? I wish I got to see that in person. Just thinking about it puts a huge smile on my face!
I fondly remember a pair of commercials starring Tulo. There was a commercial dedicated to him, where his alarm clock sounded off to the sound of the Tulo cheer. Then a construction worker drilled pavement for road work to the sound of the same cheer, then a cashier did the same when ringing up a pair of sunglasses Tulo was buying. At the very end of the commercial, he was at a restaurant, and the staff were making food to the tune of the cheer and said, “Tulo!” at the end.
Another one was where he was walking through airport security, but kept setting off the metal detector. At the end of the commercial, a series of awards were shown at the airport security scanner. I loved the Colorado Rockies commercials. They are so awesome to look back on.
I will never forget the day Tulo was traded to Toronto. I felt gutted, backstabbed, betrayed, hurt, heartbroken, upset, and furious. I honestly felt as if the people in charge of trading the players thanked the fans who helped him get into the All-Star Game by trading him away. When I wrote down how I was feeling about the trade in my diary, I did not hold back how angry I was in the moment. Tulo was understandably pretty unhappy about the trade, too, as he allegedly yelled at the Rockies general manager and threatened to never speak to the team’s front office again.
Nevertheless, Tulo persisted. He helped Toronto win their first AL East title since 1993 and they made it to the American League Championship Series but lost in six games to the Kansas City Royals. Sadly, Tulo had a rough 2016 and 2017, as he kept getting hurt. He missed out on all of 2018 because his ankle was bothering him, and Toronto released him two weeks before Christmas.
Very early in 2019, he signed with the Yankees, and had won the starting shortstop role because Didi Gregorius was hurt. After playing only five games, Tulo got hurt himself and was sent to the Injured List. His first and only home run in a Yankees uniform came on March 30, 2019, against Baltimore. Later that year, Tulo retired.
I fondly remember hearing about the retirement the day after the Yankees posted the announcement. I had just logged back onto social media after having taken a nearly two-week hiatus, and I was in shock. I had a feeling that Tulo was going to retire soon, but it still hit my in the face like a handful of freshly-rinsed macaroni. I felt really sad that he retired because he was my favorite player. He is the player that made me a baseball fan.
I’m going to be honest. My heart broke for Tulo at that moment, too. He spent the last three years of his career constantly hurt. That has to be a heartbreaking way to end your baseball career. Injuries are no fun; I can speak about that from experience. Nonetheless, I felt that Tulo made the decision he felt was right, and I want him to do what he feels best and I want nothing but the best for him.
Tulo will always have a special place in my heart. I will forever wish him a happy birthday on October 10. I will forever cherish my Tulo T-Shirt and the stuffed Tulo doll sitting very high up on my desk. I will be forever be grateful for the Tulo glasses in my cupboard, and I will look to them as souvenirs instead of cups to drink from. Meeting him during Photo Day 2010 will forever make my heart happy.
I have all the faith in the world that Tulo will have a successful coaching career at the University of Texas Austin. Since he had a wonderful college career, I am beyond sure he will coach players to be their absolute best. I also have faith that he will raise his adorable son, Taz, to be a wonderful and talented person. I saw a video on Facebook where Tulo was pitching to his son and Taz hit the baseball very well! It was the cutest video I’ve ever seen that day. In my opinion, that’s a sign that he is raising his son to be an amazing person.
Thank you for all your contributions to the sport, Tulo. I wish you nothing but the best in retirement and your coaching career. Thanks for helping me fall in love with the sport of baseball. You will be my favorite all-time MLB player forever.