Todd Lynn Helton (born August 20, 1973 in Knoxville, Tennessee) is a Major League Baseball first baseman who has played for the Colorado Rockies since the 1997 season. He bats and throws left-handed. Entering the 2006 season, he had the highest career batting average of any active player.
Todd Helton was drafted in the 1st round 8th overall in the 1995 by the Colorado Rockies. Todd spent the next few years playing for the New Haven Ravens, AA and Colorado Springs Sky Sox AAA. Helton dominated the minors and was soon called up on August 2, 1997.
Major League Career
After the end of the 1997 season he hit .280/.337/.484, and 5 home runs. When Andrés Galarraga went to the Atlanta Braves in 1998, Helton proved to be a worthy replacement, hitting .315/.380/.530, 25 home runs, and 97 RBI while finishing second in the NL Rookie Of The Year race. In 1999 Helton carried the Rockies on his back by hitting .320/.395/.587, 35 home runs, and 113 RBI, and drawing 68 walks. They would go on to finish an unimpressive 72-90. Since then, he has consistently remained Colorado's best hitter.
In 2000, Helton enjoyed his best season, leading the National League hitters in batting average (.372) and also winning the overall major league batting title over the American League leadingRed Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. In 2000 Helton led the major leagues in RBI (147), hits (216), doubles (59), total bases (405), on base percentage (.463), slugging average (.698) and OPS (1.162). He was also considered for the MVP award (5th). The next season, 2001, was another impressive one for Helton, who had a career high 49 home runs and 146 RBI, in addition to averaging .336/.432/.685 and drawing 98 walks. The 49 home runs tied his teammate Larry Walker for the most home runs ever by a Colorado Rockies player in a single season. Helton was a top candidate for MVP, but was overshadowed by Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds, and the fact that he plays half his games at hitter friendly Coors Field.
During the 2005 season Helton was in the biggest slump in his career in offensive categories. Helton would bounce back to hit .383 (92-for-240) over final 69 games beginning July 1, highest average in the majors in that span, 24 points higher than the next closest batter (Cleveland's Victor Martinez, .359)...hit .367 (76-for-207) after the All-Star break, In 2005 Todd injured his left calf muscle forcing him out of play from July 26 to August 9. It was the first time Helton was ever on the disabled list. Todd Helton has played his entire career in Colorado. This is a rare feat that was popular past with players such as Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, Mike Schmidt, Carl Yastrzemski, Robin Yount, Johnny Bench, George Brett, Edgar Martinez and many others . Todd will be a free agent after the 2011 season.
With his glove, Helton is solid at first base. No active first baseman, and few former first baseman, can match his skills at first base. A winner of three Gold Glove Awards (2001, 2002, 2004), he looks smooth around the bag and makes plays that most first basemen would not. However, his arm is average, though as a first baseman, he is not often required to make critical throws. He currently has the highest batting average (.337) among all active players as of 2006.
As of the start of the 2006 season, Helton holds the Colorado Rockies club records for Hits (1535), Home runs (271), Doubles (373), Walks (773),Runs scored (924), RBIs (915), On-Base Percentage (.443), Games Played (1279), Total bases (2769), and other categories.
- Selected by San Diego Padres in the 2nd round of the free-agent draft - did not sign (June 1, 1992).
- Selected by Colorado Rockies in the 1st round (8th pick overall) of the free-agent draft (June 1, 1995 - signed July 1, 1995).
- Helton wears number 17 in tribute to Mark Grace.
- Helton was the backup quarterback to Peyton Manning, while at the University of Tennessee.
- Not only was Helton a great ballplayer in high school, but he also graduated with a 3.97 grade point average.
- 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 (1937).
- Helton is the only player in MLB history to hit 35 or more doubles in at least 10 consecutive seasons (1998–2007).