Todd Helton has played his entire career for the Colorado Rockies, first filling in the outfield in 1997 and eventually taking over at 1B for Andres Galarraga. That makes him only the second full-time first-baseman in Rockies history, and he's held down that position for 14 years.
Helton was overshadowed for a number of years by Larry Walker, another Rockie with an interesting resume worthy of HOF debate. But Helton put up a ton of good numbers in his own right, and his career is definitely worth a long look too.
Some career highlights:
- Five-time All-Star (in 5 straight years from 2000 to 2004)
- 3 top-10 MVP finishes
- Won a batting title in 2000 with a .372 mark
- Won 3 gold gloves at first base
Jumping in, I want to try to list some pros and cons of Helton's Hall of Fame case, but I'd like to try to avoid numbers that inflated by Coors Field. Here's why:
There's no doubt that Helton's raw numbers have benefited tremendously from playing for the Rockies. Look at the last column above, tOPS, which is a breakout of his overall offensive performance split by home vs. away. That number of 120 has got to be one of the highest all-time for a long-time player like Helton. It's incredible. It's led to 58% more home runs, 52% more RBI, and a whopping 63% more runs scored.
I didn't include the data in the above chart, but here's another interesting thing about Helton's H/A splits. At home, he has 640 walks and 420 strikeouts, a fantastic margin. On the road? He has exactly 566 walks AND strikeouts each (through Saturday's games.) So his big advantage at home in walking over striking out disappears on the road.
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