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Message to the Fans
Todd Lynn Helton (born August 20, 1973
in Knoxville, Tennessee) is the starting first baseman for the Colorado
Rockies of Major League Baseball.
Helton is a 5-time All-Star, 4-time Silver Slugger, 4-time National League
Player of the Month and 3-time Gold Glove winner. As of the end of the 2007
Major League Baseball season, Helton has the highest career batting average of
all active players at .332, placing him second behind former San Diego Padres
right fielder Tony Gwynn (.338) among all players whose careers began after
World War II. Although Seattle Mariners center fielder Ichiro Suzuki has a
.333 average for his MLB career, higher than that of Helton, he will not have
enough at-bats to qualify for career leadership until the conclusion of the 2008
Major League Baseball season.
Following the 2007 Major League Baseball season, among all active players,
Helton is the career leader in batting average (.332), second in on-base
percentage (.430), fourth in slugging percentage (.583), seventh in intentional
walks (162) and 10th in doubles (455).
In addition, Helton holds Colorado Rockies club records for hits (1,878), home
runs (303), doubles (455), walks (980), runs scored (1,104), RBI (1,087),
on-base percentage (.430), games played (1,578), total bases (3,304) and other
Colorado Rockies — No. 17
Born: August 20, 1973 (1973-08-20) (age 34)
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Major League Baseball debut
August 2, 1997 for the Colorado Rockies
Selected MLB statistics
Batting average .332
Home runs 303
Runs batted in 1,087
Colorado Rockies (1997-present)
Before turning pro
High school years
Helton attended Central High School in Knoxville, Tennessee and was a letterman
in football and baseball. In football, he posted 2,772 total yards as
In baseball, as a senior, Helton posted a .655 batting average and 12 home runs
and was named the Regional Player of the Year. Baseball America also bestowed
him with All-American honors for his senior season.
University of Tennessee
Helton received a scholarship from the University of Tennessee to play both
football and baseball. He was named a Gatorade Player of the Year for football
and baseball during his time at the University of Tennessee. As a freshman
and sophomore, he backed up Heath Shuler at quarterback. In his junior season,
he was the back-up to Jerry Colquitt and ahead of Peyton Manning. After an
injury to Colquitt, Helton got the starting spot only to face injury himself and
be replaced by Manning. Following his junior baseball season, where he won the
Dick Howser Trophy as National Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year, Helton
was drafted by the Colorado Rockies.
Draft and debut
Helton was drafted in the first round, eighth overall, in 1995 by the Colorado
Rockies. He was signed on July 1, 1995. Helton spent the next couple of
years playing for the high-A Asheville Tourists, AA New Haven Ravens and AAA
Colorado Springs Sky Sox before getting a crack at the major leagues. He made
his major-league debut on August 2, 1997, in a 6-5 road loss against the
Pittsburgh Pirates. Helton started in left field and flied out in his
first at-bat. He recorded his first hit, a single, in his second at-bat off
of Francisco Cordova. Helton also hit his first home run, a solo shot, that
day off of Marc Wilkins.
1997-1999: Early career
During the 1997 season, Helton hit .280/.337/.484 (batting average, on-base
percentage, slugging percentage), with five home runs, in 35 games played. When
Rockies first baseman Andrés Galarraga went to the Atlanta Braves in 1998,
Helton became the full-time starter at first base for Colorado during the 1998
season. The Rockies named Helton their club representative in 1998, the first
time the team ever gave a rookie that role. He hit .315/.380/.530, with 25
home runs and 97 RBI, in 152 games played. Helton led all major-league rookies
in average (.315), homers (25), RBI (97), multi-hit games (49), total bases
(281), slugging percentage (.530) and extra base hits (63). He also led all
National League rookies in runs (78), hits (167) and on-base percentage (.380).
At the time, only Mike Piazza (35), David Justice (28) and Darryl Strawberry
(26) had hit more homers as an NL rookie since 1972, and only Piazza had more
RBI (112). Helton finished second to Kerry Wood of the Chicago Cubs in the
voting for National League Rookie of the Year. The Tennessee Sports Hall of
Fame named Helton its 1998 Professional Athlete of the Year.
In 1999, Helton had a .320 batting average, .395 on-base percentage and .587
slugging percentage. He also hit 35 home runs and 113 RBI, while drawing 68
walks. On June 19, 1999, in a 10-2 Rockies home win over the Florida Marlins,
Helton hit for the cycle. He fell short of hitting a second cycle on four
different occasions during the 1999 season, which would have made him only the
second player since 1900 (Babe Herman was the first to do so in 1931) to hit two
cycles in one season.
Helton enjoyed arguably his best season in 2000, leading the major leagues in
batting average (.372), RBI (147), doubles (59), total bases (405), extra base
hits (103), slugging percentage (.698) and OPS (1.162). He led the
National League in hits (216) and on-base percentage (.463). Helton hit a
league-leading home batting average of .391 and placed third in the National
League in road batting average (.353). Helton's MLB-leading 103 extra base
hits tied for the fourth most in MLB history and the second most in NL
history. His National League-leading numbers in on-base percentage, slugging
percentage and batting average gave him the "percentage triple crown."
Helton became the second Rockies player (Larry Walker in 1999) to accomplish
that feat. Helton and Walker made the Rockies the first team in MLB history
to record percentage triple crowns in consecutive seasons with different
players. Helton became only the fourth player in National League history to
lead the NL in both batting average and RBI. He became the first player in
National League history and the fifth player in MLB history (Babe Ruth, Lou
Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx and Hank Greenberg are the others) to have at least 200
hits, 40 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 runs, 100 extra base hits and 100 walks in one
Helton was invited to his first career Major League Baseball All-Star Game in
2000. He also received National League Player of the Month honors for May
and August. He finished fifth in voting for the MVP award. However, the
Associated Press, The Sporting News, USA Baseball Alumni and Baseball Digest all
named Helton the MLB Player of the Year. Buck O'Neil and the Negro Leagues
Baseball Museum presented Helton with the Walter Fenner "Buck" Leonard Legacy
Award. Helton was also given the team-honored version of the Roberto
Clemente Man of Year Award, for his community contributions to Eastern
Tennessee. Furthermore, he was the National League winner of the second
annual Hank Aaron Award. For all of his success, the Colorado Rockies
rewarded Helton with a nine-year, $141.5 million dollar contract in April of
2001 that took effect in 2003.
The following season, Helton posted a career-high 49 home runs (22 of them
occurred away from Coors Field). The 49 home runs tied teammate Larry Walker
for the most home runs ever by a Colorado Rockies player in a single season.
Additionally, Helton averaged a .336 batting average, .432 on-base percentage
and .685 slugging percentage. He also had 105 extra base hits, making him
the first player in MLB history to have at least 100 total extra base hits in
back-to-back seasons. Furthermore, Helton attained 402 total bases, making
him only the fourth player in MLB history to do so in consecutive seasons (Chuck
Klein, Gehrig and Foxx are the others).
Helton appeared in his second consecutive All-Star game in 2001 - his first as a
starter. He won his first Gold Glove at first base and was once again a top
candidate for MVP, but was overshadowed by Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds.
In 2002, Helton had a .329 batting average, 30 home runs, 109 RBI, 107 runs and
319 total bases. He became the first player in Rockies history to score at
least 100 runs in four consecutive seasons. He was named Player of the Month
for May, as he hit .347 with six doubles, one triple, 10 homers and 28 RBI
during the month. Helton was named to his third consecutive All-Star game -
second straight as a starter. He also received his second consecutive Gold
2003 saw Helton involved in the closest NL batting race in history, as he hit
.35849, while St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols finished first
with a .35871 batting average. During the season, Helton also had 33 home
runs, 117 RBI, 135 runs, 49 doubles and five triples. He won his fourth Player
of the Month honor during the month of April, as he hit .337 with six home runs,
27 RBI, 28 runs, 11 doubles and 24 walks. He also appeared in his fourth
consecutive All-Star game.
During the 2004 season, Helton again finished second in the NL batting race, as
he hit .347, while San Francisco Giants left fielder Barry Bonds hit .362.
Helton also had 32 homers and 96 RBI on the season. He became the first player
in MLB history to hit at least .315 with 25 HR and 95 RBI in each of his first
seven full seasons in the majors. He became only the third player in MLB
history to accomplish that feat during any seven-year stretch in a career (Lou
Gehrig and Babe Ruth are the others). He set a franchise record by hitting
at least 30 home runs in six consecutive seasons. Helton was named to his
team-record fifth consecutive All-Star game and won his third Gold Glove during
In 2005, Helton spent time on the disabled list (July 26 - August 9) for the
first time in his career with a strained left calf muscle. He hit .302 with
20 home runs, 79 RBI, 92 runs and 45 doubles for the season. He was under 1.000
in OPS (finished with .979 OPS) for the first time since 1999. Helton also
wasn't named to the National League All-Star team for the first time since 1999.
However, he did end up joining Gehrig and Bill Terry as the only first baseman
in MLB history to have at least a .315 batting average in eight consecutive
The following season, Helton had to spend time on the disabled list again, this
time from April 20 - May 4, as he was diagnosed with acute terminal ileitis.
He hit .302 with 15 home runs, 81 RBI, 40 doubles, 91 walks and a .404 on-base
percentage for the season. He ended the season below .900 in OPS (he had
.880 OPS) for the first time since entering the league in 1997 when he only
played 35 games that year. Helton finished third on the Rockies roster in
2006 in runs (94), hits (165), doubles (40), total bases (260) and multi-hit
Helton's power and RBI production stayed relatively level to his previous year's
stats during the 2007 season, as he managed 17 home runs and 91 RBI. Despite
these numbers being below his career averages, Helton has so far kept up his
string of seven consecutive seasons with an on-base percentage higher than .400,
nine consecutive seasons with a batting average above .300, and has also been
walked more times than he has struck out (a feat he has accomplished in seven of
his first ten full seasons).
Helton recorded his 1,000th career hit at Coors Field on June 20, 2007, in a 6-1
home win over the New York Yankees, becoming only the fifth active player to
have 1,000 career hits in one ballpark.
On September 9, 2007, in 4-2 home victory over the San Diego Padres, Helton hit
his 35th double of the season. This made him the first and only player in MLB
history to have hit 35 or more doubles in at least 10 consecutive seasons (1998
Helton hit his 300th career home run on September 16, 2007, in a 13-0 home win
over the Florida Marlins. He became the first player to hit 300 home
runs for the Colorado Rockies.
Helton made what was arguably the most pivotal play of the Rockies' 2007 season
in the second game of a doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers on
September 18, 2007. In the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs and two
strikes, Helton hit an emotional two-run walk-off home run off of Dodgers closer
Takashi Saito. The home run kept the Rockies alive in the bid to win the
wild card or National League West title. The Rockies eventually clinched the
National League wild card, in a 9-8 extra innings victory over the San Diego
Padres in a wild card tiebreaker game, allowing Helton to appear in the playoffs
for the first time in his career. Colorado went on to sweep the Philadelphia
Phillies in three games of the National League Division Series. Helton hit a
triple in the first pitch of his first career playoff at-bat in the opening game
against the Phillies at Philadelphia. The Rockies also swept the Arizona
Diamondbacks in four games of the National League Championship Series, sending
the Rockies on their first trip to the World Series in franchise history.
Helton is currently in the sixth year of a nine-year, $141.5 million dollar
contract and will be a free agent following the 2011 season.
Coors Field effect
As of September 29, 2007, Helton has batted .367 at Coors Field and .295 on the
road. He has averaged one home run per 15.5 at-bats at Coors Field versus one
home run per 23.8 at-bats on the road. In a similar number of at-bats (2,849 at
home vs. 2,807 on the road), Helton has 225 more RBI at Coors Field than on the
road. He also has scored more runs (685 vs. 417), has a higher on base average
(.465 vs. .394), slugging average (.662 vs. .502) and OPS (1.127 vs. .897).
Helton also walks less, hits fewer doubles and triples, steals fewer bases, and
strikes out more frequently on the road. However, it should be noted that
one of the reasons for any substantial differences in home and road splits for
Rockies batters is that they have to make adjustments in how they see pitches
away from Coors Field - particularly breaking balls, such as sliders and curve
balls - since those pitches act differently at Coors Field than on the road.
I don't try to be a Christian to be a better baseball player. I try to be a
Christian to be a better person and father. I struggle with it every day, like
everyone else in the world. I want to be a better person, like everybody else.
We're dirtbags, like 99 percent of the world. Maybe worse, because we are
baseball players. Some guys are Christians and some guys aren't.
— when discussing the 2006 controversy over Christian rules within the Rockies
I have no idea; I have no idea how we just won that ballgame.
— when asked on ESPN how the Rockies managed to beat the San Diego Padres in the
2007 National League wild card tie-breaker game using 10 pitchers.
You know, if Peyton played first base, he'd be my backup.
— after being asked about being the backup quarterback of Peyton Manning while
attending the University of Tennessee.
5-time All-Star (2000-2004)
4-time Silver Slugger (2000-2003, most out of all MLB first basemen)
4-time National League Player of the Month (May 2000, August 2000, May 2002,
3-time National League Gold Glove winner (2001, 2002, 2004)
2-time Colorado Rockies-honored Roberto Clemente Man of the Year Award (2000,
National League Batting Champion (2000)
National League Slugging Percentage leader (2000)
National League RBI leader (2000)
National League Doubles leader (2000, Helton hit 59 doubles during the season,
which tied Chuck Klein for the third-highest single-season doubles total in NL
National League Hits leader (2000)
National League On-Base Percentage leader (2000, 2005, 2007)
National League Total Bases leader (2000)
National League Extra Base Hits leader (2000)
Dick Howser Trophy (Best National College Baseball Player, 1995)
The Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award (1998)
Topps All-Star Rookie Team (1998)
Baseball Digest All-Star Rookie Team (1998)
Hit for the cycle (June 19, 1999)
Walter Fenner "Buck" Leonard Legacy Award (2000)
National League Hank Aaron Award (2000)
Percentage triple crown (2000)
The Associated Press Major League Baseball All-Star Team (2000)
The Associated Press Major League Baseball Player of the Year (2000)
Baseball Digest Major League Baseball Player of the Year (2000)
USA Baseball Alumni Player of the Year (2000)
The Sporting News National League Player of the Year (2000)
No. 10 in Major League Baseball history in On-base percentage (.430)
Helton is the only player in MLB history to have 100-plus extra base hits in
consecutive seasons: 103 in 2000, and 105 in 2001. The only others to do it
twice in their careers, but not consecutively, were Lou Gehrig [1927 (117), 1930
(100)] and Chuck Klein [1930 (107), 1932 (103)].
Helton is one of only four players in MLB history (Klein in 1929 and 1930,
Jimmie Foxx in 1932 and 1933, along with Gehrig in 1930 and 1931) to have
reached 400 total bases in consecutive seasons (405 in 2000, 402 in 2001).
Gehrig reached 400 total bases in four seasons (1927, 1930, 1931, 1934), and
Klein did so once more (1932). The other players to reach 400 total bases twice
in a career, but not consecutively, were Babe Ruth (1921, 1927), Rogers Hornsby
(1922, 1929) and Sammy Sosa (1998, 2001).
Helton is one of only five players in MLB history (the first ever in the
National League) to have at least 200 hits, 40 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 runs, 100
extra-base hits and 100 walks in one season (2000). The others to do so were
Babe Ruth (1921), Lou Gehrig (1927, 1930), Jimmie Foxx (1932) and Hank Greenberg
Helton is one of only three first baseman in MLB history (Gehrig and Bill Terry
are the others) to have at least a .315 batting average in eight consecutive
Among active players with at least 4,000 at bats, Helton is currently: second in
batting average (.3316) to Ichiro Suzuki (.333), with Albert Pujols (.3315)
nipping at Helton's heels, second (10th all-time) in on-base percentage [(.430),
behind Barry Bonds (.445)], fourth (10th all-time) in slugging percentage
[(.583), behind Pujols (.620), Bonds (.607) and Manny Ramírez (.593)] and third
(eighth all-time) in on-base plus slugging [(1.0138), behind Bonds (1.0512) and
Colorado Rockies career leader in on-base percentage (.430), games played
(1,578), at bats (5,663), plate appearances (6,758), runs (1,104), hits (1,878),
total bases (3,304), doubles (455), home runs (303), RBI (1,087), walks (980),
singles (1,089), runs created (1,459), extra-base hits (789), times on base
(2,906), sacrifice flies (61) and intentional walks (162).
Hit 3 home runs against the Montreal Expos on May 1, 2000 and against the Los
Angeles Dodgers on May 29, 2003.
Only player in MLB history to hit 35 or more doubles in at least 10 consecutive
seasons (1998 - Present).
Helton's jersey number, 17, is a tribute to former Chicago Cubs first baseman
Mark Grace. Incidentally, Grace wore 17 because former New York Mets first
baseman Keith Hernandez wore 17. Hernandez wore 17 with the Mets because he
could not wear number 37, his number with the St. Louis Cardinals, since 37 was
retired in honor of former player/manager Casey Stengel. Hernandez wore both 37
and 17 to honor former New York Yankees center fielder Mickey Mantle, whose
number was 7.
Helton and his family - wife Christy and daughter Tierney Faith (born September
24, 2002) - reside in Brighton, Colorado.
As stated earlier, Helton was the backup quarterback to Peyton Manning, while at
the University of Tennessee. Coincidentally, his current Rockies teammate, Seth
Smith, was the backup to Manning's younger brother, Eli Manning, while at the
University of Mississippi. Furthermore, former Tennessee offensive coordinator
David Cutcliffe was Helton's quarterback coach at Tennessee and Smith's head
coach at Ole Miss.
^ a b c d e f g h http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player_career.jsp?player_id=115732
^ a b c Todd Helton Statistics. Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved on 2007-10-19.
^ ESPN - Todd Helton Stats, News, Photos - Colorado Rockies - MLB Baseball.
ESPN.com. Retrieved on 2007-10-19.
^ All-Time Batting Average Leaders (Top 50). Major League Baseball. Retrieved on
2007-11-16. Gwynn is 15th all-time and Helton 21st. The only player above them
in batting average who played after World War II was Ted Williams, whose career
began in 1939, before the U.S. entered the war.
^ a b c d http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player_career.jsp?player_id=115732&y=1997
^ a b c The Official Site of The Colorado Rockies: Team: Player Information :
Biography and Career Highlights
^ a b c d http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/stats?playerId=3709
^ a b http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player_career.jsp?player_id=115732&y=1999
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n The Official Site of The Colorado Rockies: Team:
Player Information : Biography and Career Highlights
^ RINGOLSBY: Team-by-team report : Rockies : The Rocky Mountain News
^ a b c d e f g h http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player_career.jsp?player_id=115732&y=2001
^ a b c d e http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player_career.jsp?player_id=115732&y=2002
^ a b http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player_career.jsp?player_id=115732&y=2003
^ a b c d http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player_career.jsp?player_id=115732&y=2004
^ a b c http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player_career.jsp?player_id=115732&y=2005
^ a b c http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player_career.jsp?player_id=115732&y=2006
^ Todd Helton's career split stats. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved on September 30,
^ ESPN - Coors Field a truly unique environment - MLB
^ Rockies: Hey, we aren't the angels : Rockies : The Rocky Mountain News
^ The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: Major League Baseball News
^ Lindsey Korsick (July 26, 2007). Player Profile - Seth Smith. Colorado Springs
Sky Sox. Retrieved on 2007-10-19.
Source: Wikipedia.org at