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.