After 17 great seasons, Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton has decided he’s had enough. He is hanging up his cleats.
At one time, he was the backup quarterback to Peyton Manning in college, but that isn’t what is he is most known for. He was drafted in 1995 as the eighth overall pick by the Rockies; his MLB debut would come on August 2, 1997 as a 23-year old.
17 seasons later, Helton has cemented himself as one of the most consistent, reliable players in the history of baseball. Unfortunately, most casual baseball fans probably wouldn’t recognize his name. Playing in Colorado for his entire career, Helton has been hidden from the rest of the country. Playing in the Western part of the country in a smaller market than most, Helton just hasn’t gotten the media attention that his great career deserved.
According to TheDenverChannel.com, Helton ranks among the top 100 in hits, doubles, home runs, RBIs, walks, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. For his career, Helton has a higher walk percentage (14.1 percent) than strikeout percentage (12.4 percent). He has a career slash line of .317/.414/.539 with 368 home runs.
The critics say that since he played in a very hitter-friendly park, Coors Field, that his numbers are inflated. If you look closely, his home numbers are better than his road numbers, but most players have better home numbers. Helton has a career .332/.434/.563 line at home compared to a .286/.392/.444 line on the road.
Helton will play the final home game of his career on Wednesday night. It will certainly be an interesting sight to see. Unlike the majority of players these days, Helton has spent his entire career in the same uniform. It has become common these days for players to switch teams frequently, but Helton has stuck with the Rockies for his entire 17-year career.
If you get the chance, check out the Rockies game tonight, and look for number 17; he’ll be occupying first base.