Found September 15, 2013 on
PLAYERS: Todd Helton
TEAMS: Colorado Rockies
  Coors Field will never be the same. Next season when the Colorado Rockies take the field for their home opener there will be nine players running out of the dugout. The air will be filled with the smell of spring blossoming throughout Denver. There will be a feeling of excitement and anticipation, for with the return of baseball comes the knowledge of summer just on the horizon. The crowd will roar and anxiously watch the starting pitcher warm up. Yes, nine guys will be out in the field and yet it’ll feel like there is a hole in the lineup. Something will be missing. Colorado Rockies baseball will never be the same. Tom Van Ripper, a sports business writer for Forbes said it best, “Todd Helton, a better baseball player than Mariano Rivera heads toward retirement quietly.” In one sentence Van Ripper embodied everything that was Todd Helton’s career; a career of Hall of Fame accomplishments that went largely unnoticed by the baseball world. It all started at Central High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. It has been said that the sweetest swing baseball is possessed by left-handers. Griffey, Jr. had it. Bonds had it. Gwynn had it. So too did Helton. Simply put, Todd Helton had a swing that destined him to hitting success. As proof, he would bat .655 as a senior winning Regional Player of the Year awards. After being drafted, Helton decided on college and joined the Volunteers at the University of Tennessee. He would fall in the shadow of a guy who has made a pretty good career out of football and yet would quietly continue to succeed on the diamond. His junior year, Helton won the Dick Howser Trophy as the National Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year. It may surprise you to know that Helton also pitched as Tennessee’s closer, a role the Rockies could have used him in this year. As a closer, he pitched 47 consecutive scoreless innings and posted a 0.89 ERA. After spending 1994 playing for the Orleans Cardinals, Helton was drafted eighth overall by the Colorado Rockies. Denver would never be the same. Although he spent his first few seasons in the Majors behind Andres Galarraga, Helton would get his chance to be the full-time starter at first base for Colorado in 1998. He has started there every year since. In his first full rookie season, Helton posted a .315/.380/.530 line with 25 dingers and 97 RBI. Monumental numbers that fell silent and under the headlines surrounding the emergence of Kerry Wood, who would win the National League Rookie of the Year award. What Helton would go on to accomplish as a hitter in Denver is largely unknown. He would win a percentage triple crown, which is based on on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and batting average. He would become the first player in National League history to have at least 200 hits, 40 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 runs, 100 extra base hits and 100 walks in a season. He joined a club that houses only Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, and Greenberg. Todd Helton would boast numbers that should have earned him National League MVP honors, but he was frequently overshadowed by the likes of McGwire vs. Sosa in the great race for Maris, the arrival of Albert Pujols and by Bonds during his historical and questionable conquest for Mark McGwire’s home run record. Nestled against the Rocky Mountains, Todd Helton consistently was atop the National League’s batting stats. Yet in the shadows cast by the Rockies, Helton succeeded in silence. Despite a degenerative back condition diagnosed in 2008, Helton continued to produce for the Rockies. His numbers began to decline, yet they were still comparatively solid numbers for a Major League hitter. Ironically, the historic numbers he remains unheralded for became the measuring stick to which he was torn down by. Todd Helton has some two weeks and change left in a Rockies uniform. His 17 seasons with Colorado are unappreciated and unrecognized. Pull up a list of his accomplishments and one would be wondering just how in the world this guy hasn’t become a household name or a publicly defended future first-ballot Hall of Famer. And yet he is only quietly celebrated in Denver. The media refuses to proclaim his career as prolific as they bumble around the notion that a thin atmosphere ballooned the numbers of a somewhat better than average hitter. Todd Helton has spent his life in the shadows of giants. In college he once was higher on the depth chart than Peyton Manning. Sadly, many know of Todd Helton because he was on the same team as Peyton Manning. As a professional baseball player he never escaped the shadows of Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, or Pujols. He quietly put together a 17 career that very few Major League Baseball players can even fathom. Look at his numbers and his name falls next to Gehrig, Ruth, Foxx, Hornsby, Klein and Greenberg. Historical giants of the game of baseball to whom every potential Hall of Famer is compared. As Van Ripper said, Todd Helton has been one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Yet playing in Denver for a young franchise, his career has not received the attention or accolades it deserves. In a couple weeks, Todd Helton will say goodbye to the game he loves. Coors Field and the city of Denver will send him off to an ovation that he deserves. And though ESPN won’t be putting together any “Best of Todd Helton” segments, or a Baseball Tonight tribute, Todd Helton will be missed. It may not sink in that he is gone until next April. But when next April comes around, something about Colorado Rockies baseball will seem out of place. That is when the magnitude of Todd Helton will be realized.

Helton to retire after season

We all kinda knew it was was all just a matter of when.  Saturday, Colorado Rockies star Todd Helton announced that he would be retiring at the conclusion of the season, just two weeks after collecting his 2500th career hit. "Yes, this is it. It just seems like it's time. It's a young man's game. I am 40 years old. I am looking forward to doing something...

Todd Helton to retire following the 2013 season

Rockies first baseman Todd Helton is hanging up his cleats after this season, according to the Denver Post. Helton, who turned 40 last month, has spent his entire career with Colorado after being drafted eighth overall in the 1995 Draft. Calling Helton the greatest Rockie of all-time is probably an understatement. Helton has the third-highest batting average in Rockies history...

Is Todd Helton Worthy of The Hall of Fame?

Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton announced his retirement this week, and now the talk has turned to whether he is worth of the Hall of Fame.  Let’s take a look at his stats. 2,506 hits, 1394 runs, 586 doubles, 367 home runs, 1397 RBIs, and a batting average of .317.What I find interesting is that generally people immediately jump to “well, he hit at Coors field, so...

Helton to retire after 17 years with Rockies

Longtime Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton plans to retire at the end of the season. The 40-year-old will have completed 17 seasons in the major leagues, all with Colorado. The five-time All-Star's last game at Coors Field will be Sept. 25. The Rockies announced Helton's decision in a statement they released after their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on...

Helton to retire at end of season

Todd Helton will retire at the end of the season after spending 17 years with the Colorado Rockies and setting franchise records in nearly every offensive category. The 40-year-old first baseman announced his decision after a 9-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks Saturday night. Almost fittingly, he had a double in his only hit of the night, the 586th of his career. "For 17...

Helton ready to leave game after 17 seasons

Todd Helton has more homers than Hank Greenberg, more RBIs than Johnny Mize, a higher career batting average than Eddie Murray and has scored more runs than Willie McCovey. All those first basemen are in the Hall of Fame. Helton will find out in five years if he's done enough over his 17-year career with the Colorado Rockies to merit consideration. The 40-year-old Helton,...

Todd Helton's retirement brings out the emotions for fans of the Colorado Rockies

Todd Helton is the first Colorado Rockies legend. The announcement was no huge surprise, but it represented everything that is Todd Helton.The face of the Colorado Rockies franchise let the public know that he would retire at about 11 pm on Saturday night. The announcement came when the state of Colorado was focused on torrential rains that left much of the previously-drought ridden...

Todd Helton to retire after 17 seasons with Rockies

Todd Helton paused as if stepping out of the batter's box and confidently addressed his future after months of uncertainty. The greatest player in Rockies history will retire at the end of the season he told The Denver Post on Saturday. "Yes this is it. It just seems like it's time. It's a young man's game. I am 40 years old. I am looking forward to doing something...

Rockies' Todd Helton to retire after this season

It may not come as shocking news, but we had yet to receive confirmation of it until now.  The Colorado Rockies will no longer have Todd Helton covering first base starting next season.  The veteran slugger has confirmed he will retire after the season. Yesterday, Helton told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that he would call it a career once the season was over.  Helton had...

Todd Helton retiring at end of season

Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton will retire at the end of the season. It had been assumed for some time that the 40-year-old was headed for retirement at seasonsend. “Yes, this is it. It just seems like it’s time. It’s a young man’s game. I am 40 years old. I am looking forward to doing something else besides baseball. Whatever that may be. I am not sure yet,...

Cardinals can keep pedal to metal and see some friends in Colorado

A four-game series at Coors Field against the last-place Rockies should give the Cardinals a good opportunity to keep pace with the Pirates, who will be playing host to the Padres for four games. The week in Denver also should give the Cardinals plenty of time to see a few old friends on the Rockies. There are three, in particular, they won't want to miss. Todd Helton This...

Todd Helton, Rockies spoil Cardinals' chance for division lead

With his club reduced to the roll of September spoiler for the third straight season first-year manager Walt Weiss is hoping the Rockies can still land a few punches. They did just that Monday night at Coors Field decking the Cardinals 6-2 with a four-run rally in the eighth inning. Catcher Wilin Rosario delivered the telling blow driving a single to left to score Troy Tulowitzki...

Recap:Rockies keep Cardinals tied for 1st with 6-2 win

DENVER (AP) Todd Helton started his final homestand with a key single in the eighth inning that helped the Colorado Rockies beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 on Monday night.Charlie Blackmon had three hits and drove in three runs for the Rockies, who prevented the Cardinals from taking over sole possession of first place in the NL Central. They remained tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates...

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 287: Preparing for Postseason Narrative-Building/Guerrero, Helton, and the Hall of Fame by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

Ben and Sam discuss the onslaught of articles about which teams are best-suited for October, then talk about the Cooperstown cases of Vladimir Guerrero and Todd Helton.

Preview: Kelly seeks to rebound from a rare loss

The St. Louis Cardinals had their bid for sole possession of first place spoiled by the Colorado Rockies, whose game-winning rally saw a key contribution from Todd Helton in one of his final games at Coors Field. Coming off his first loss in more than three months, it will be Joe Kelly trying to spoil Helton's farewell homestand when he takes the mound for St. Louis on Tuesday...
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