If you didn’t know by now, Jimmy C of Baseball the Yankees and Life started a little tradition of dedicating his ranking number on MLBlogs to a player. So blame it on Jimmy and sit back and enjoy my look at the greatest Rockies player to have worn the jersey, one Mr. Todd Helton. I dedicate my ranking to # 17.
I recently did a piece on MLB Center.com where I put in order my opinion of the top ten Rockies of all time. It was no surprise Todd Helton ended up at number one. Here is my paragraph on Helton and # 17.
“The greatest Colorado Rockies player to date, Helton has put together an impressive career since getting into the lineup in 1997. He leads club categories in games played (1661), RBIs (1,116), hits (1957), homeruns (310) and doubles (471). Helton has played for 12 seasons with the Rockies and has been selected to five All-Star games 2000-2004. He has won three Gold Gloves at first base, 2001, 2002 and 2004. He won the 2000 N.L. Hank Aaron Award and been a Silver Slugger four times 2000-2003. 2000 saw him finish the year with an amazing .372 batting average. He currently has an amazing career fielding percentage of .996 and .328 batting average. Under contract to 2011, Helton could finish his career as a Colorado Rockies player and possibly the first Hall of Fame nominee.”
Anyone who has watched Helton at first base has seen a man who loves the game of baseball. I posted in December on why I thought Helton could very well be Hall of Famer and how he compared in his first 12 seasons versus other great first baseman Lou Gehrig and Eddie Murray.
A couple of paragraphs from that post:
The first stat I wanted to analyze was defense. Anyone who has ever seen Helton play can tell you he is a master with the glove. In his first 12 years with the Rockies, Helton has committed a total of 61 errors at his position. That number is nowhere close to the more than double, 140 by Gehrig, and nearly double 108, by Murray during the same span in their careers. What does that mean?
That stat alone does not prove his worth but it can help to quantify another key argument why I believe Helton is the greatest Rockies player ever- he makes other players better. How much better was Troy Tulowitzski’s rookie season because of the fielding ability of Helton? Or how much better was Garret Atkins at third or Kaz Matsui at second during the Rockies record setting defensive year in 2007? Helton turned a total of 1,537 double plays so far in his career compared to only 1,076 by Gehrig and similar 1,463 by Murray at the same point in their careers.
Statistics alone do not capture the essence of Helton and even when he cannot sign an autograph he is quick to apologize and let you know he’s got practice or the like. A lot of players won’t even look in your direction, but Helton is kind, courteous and a gentleman on and off the field in my opinion.
I have never gotten an autograph from Helton. It’s not because I don’t want one it’s because I know exactly what i want.
I took a photograph in the third game of 2007 capturing Helton hitting his 998th RBI and I want that photo signed. I captured many moments that year and I got every photo signed of every player except Helton. When I do, that collection will be complete and I’ll be sure to post them for everyone to see.
So I hope you enjoyed my look at Todd Helton and if you want to read up on my prior post in Helton vs Gehrig vs Murray, I think you’ll have the same appreciation for this man I do.