Colorado Rockies Countdown: Top Five First Basemen

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May 15, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; General view of a Colorado Rockies cap and glove in the fifth inning of the game against the New York Mets at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
May 15, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; General view of a Colorado Rockies cap and glove in the fifth inning of the game against the New York Mets at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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Aug 17, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Former Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton (right) shakes hands with team owner Dick Monfront (left) during a ceremony to retire Helton
Aug 17, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Former Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton (right) shakes hands with team owner Dick Monfront (left) during a ceremony to retire Helton /

1.  Todd Helton (1997-2013, fWAR 54.8)

As if you had any doubt who occupies our top spot. Todd Helton is the greatest player to ever put on purple pinstripes. Todd played all 17 years of his Major League career with Colorado, and an overwhelming major of those seasons were on losing teams. The grace, and team-first attitude that Helton carried with him on a daily basis is a shooting star in today’s game.

In order to list all of Helton’s accomplishments, it would take an entirely separate article, but here some of the most notable. Helton is the the Rockies all-time leader in: offensive WAR, games played, at-bats, runs scored, hits, total bases, doubles, home runs, runs batted in, walks, singles, extra base hits, sacrifice flies, and runs created. Helton is the only Rockie with 300+ home runs, and the only Rockies player to have his number retired. Do you know what his career batting average was? I’ve been trying to set you up for this … it was .316.

Helton, who was Peyton Manning’s backup in college, was drafted by Colorado eighth overall in the 1995 MLB Draft. In 1997, Helton made his Rockies debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates where he actually started in left field. In that game, Helton would collect his first Major League hit, a single, and his first career home run. In his first full season in 1998, Helton finished second to the Cubs’ Kerry Wood for the NL Rookie of the Year award.

Helton’s best individual season came in 2000 when he lead the league in hits (216), doubles (59), RBI (147), AVG (.372), OBP (.463), SLG (.698) and total bases (405). That year Helton would make his first of five All-Star games, finish fifth in the MVP vote (a career-best), and win his first of four Silver Slugger awards. Helton finished his career as the club’s single-season record holder for doubles (59), home runs (49), and walks (127).

Next: Memories of Key Players at Double-A Tulsa

As a Rockies fan, there is no doubt that Helton made an impact on you, or made chills run down your spine at some point. For this writer, it in came on June 19, 1999, when I attended my first Rockies game ever at the age of 10. Helton hit for the cycle in a 10-2 win over the Florida Marlins. At the time, I didn’t understand the rarity of what I just witnessed, but as an adult I never forget watching Helton round third after blasting one into the Coors’ fountain. As an adult, who could ever forget watching Helton scream in the sky and clinching his fists after catching the finale out of the 2007 season, sealing his first-ever trip to the postseason?

We here at Rox Pile want to know your favorite Helton moment, so provide a comment and let us know!

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