One of the most amazing things a Major League Baseball player can accomplish during this age of free agency is staying with the same team longer than just a few years. Once upon a time the term journeyman meant a player that wasn’t necessarily that good. Now almost everyone is a journeyman in their own right but not Colorado Rockies first basemen Todd Helton. Helton announced his retirement effective immediately after the 2013 season. He will be missed but his tenure with the Rockies will live forever.
Seventeen seasons Helton spent with the Rockies and they were not lazy seasons either. We are talking about a five time all-star, three time gold glove winner and a four time silver slugger award winner. On top of that he was in the top twenty of National League MVP voting six times and in the top ten three times. That isn’t all that shabby. One season was even better than all the rest though.
The year 2000 would easily be the career year for Helton. That season he finished with a huge average of .372 with a 1.162 OPS. He slammed 42 home runs and had 147 RBI. Somehow his MVP award that year went to Jeff Kent of the San Francisco Giants even though Helton outplayed him and the other three players that ranked above him in stats by a ton. Even his WAR was a full 2 points higher.
I’m not sure how the baseball people justified that but who cares. Helton was the best that season and for a few years after that. The question has already been asked: Is Helton a hall-of-famer? The way things went at the MLB Hall-of-Fame this year; who even cares? We know how great he is and was. He is and will be the standard setter for excellence in the Colorado Rockies organization for years to come and he has the distinction of being the first great Rockies franchise player. Thanks Todd Helton for all you did for MLB over the last seventeen years.