Todd Helton, the Colorado Rockies’ all-time leader in, well, just about everything related to batting, became the 96th hitter in the history of MLB to reach 2,500 hits in a career. In another forgettable season of Rockies baseball, the 17-year veteran has proven himself to still be capable of holding things down for the club that has been his home his entire career. A rarity of sorts, especially as a star who emerged during the steroid era in 1997, Helton still has it.
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I’ve said before he should hang it up, and I still stand by that, but he has shown that, with a bit more time off than he’s used, he can still accomplish plenty for the Rockies. His batting average is well below his career average of .317 (.250 for the current season), but he can still swing the bat and has come through in the clutch this season at the age of 40.
He is the Derek Jeter of the Rockies, and while the love for him isn’t quite nationwide like Jeter, his name is well known throughout baseball for consistency for his glove and bat.
Helton could have had opportunities to find a new home with a contender elsewhere, but he chose to remain faithful to the Rockies and to the state of Colorado. His steadfast devotion to the team is an outlier in a league where players jump ship for big contracts or a chance to join a championship contender.
Helton has toughed it out through some bad years and been the benefactor of some good ones as well.
His career very well may end with him being in between 2,500 and 3,000 hits, and having only one trip to a World Series, five All-Star selections, three Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers and one NL Batting title. He has had a hell of career, one that is most likely not going to result in a Hall of Fame selection with the current conditions in voting, which looks down upon him because of the Coors Field “effect.” The stigma that most of his career was spent in the pre-humidor days of Denver where the balls carried further is a sad one, but regardless, Helton is Mr. Rockie.
He won’t have to worry about a drink in this town, or a ride home after it. The state of Colorado loves Helton for everything he is and has done for the organization — one that never gave him everything it could to surround him with the best players money could buy or develop.