2018 marked 25 years of Colorado Rockies baseball. While the Rockies may not have the most illustrious franchise in baseball, they still have had their share of remarkable seasons that have gotten them to where they are.
Hundreds of players have come through the system since the team started up in 1993. A real question could be asked about who is the greatest to put on the purple pin stripes. This question could definitely be answered completely different in the near future, but the player with the best resume to be considered the best is Todd Helton. Here’s why:
The Rockies are entering season 26 right now, and Todd Helton suited up for 17 of those years. In other words, he was the 1st baseman for more than 65% of the entire franchise history. No one else in baseball history can make that claim. And it’s not like he was some scrub.
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Helton made the All-Star team 5 years in a row from 2000 through 2004. In that time, he averaged hitting 37 home runs per season. That’s a number few players reach, much less on a yearly basis. While he was always known as a power hitter, there was no doubt how valuable he could be about getting on base as well. He hit .349 during those 5 seasons. While he never won an MVP award, you could argue no one was more valuable from 2000-2004.
Why didn’t he win MVP during his prime seasons? Simply put, the Rockies were not a good ball club. In that time span, the Rockies were only above .500 once, with a season below 70 wins. Hard to call someone the MVP when their team was so terrible.
However, this does not mean Helton was not a winner. Helton put up wonderful hitting numbers in 2007, and lead the Rockies to their first National League pennant, not to mention breaking an 8 year playoff drought. Players like Matt Holiday and rookie Troy Tulowitzki were obviously big contributors, but it’s hard to say they would’ve gone as far without the veteran presence of Helton.
While the Rockies are still yet to win a game in a World Series setting, Helton once again shows his worth in the biggest moment. In the Rockies 4 losses, Helton hit .333 in 17 plate appearances, with 2 walks. That gave him a .412 on base percentage in those 4 critical games.
Cap that off with another MVP caliber season in 2009, and you have yourself the greatest Blake Street Bomber we have seen. Helton was a long term star, with his prime coming early in his career, and capping it off with more all star seasons later on in his career.
With close to 600 doubles and nearly 400 home runs, as well as his share of hits, Helton could easily be the best bet to be considered the greatest to put on the purple pin stripes.