Colorado Rockies: Starting 2017 With a Look Back at No. 17
Welcome to 2017! It’s expected to be a magical year for the Colorado Rockies. But before we look too far ahead, we wanted to dedicate our first story of 2017 to No. 17, Todd Helton. After all, he’s the only player to ever don the purple pinstripes to have his number retired.
In 17 seasons with the Rockies, Helton put together a .316 average. His name is dominant in the Colorado record books. Helton is the Rockies all-time leader in offensive WAR, games played, at-bats, runs scored, hits, total bases, doubles, home runs, RBI, walks, singles, extra base hits, sacrifice flies, and runs created. Helton is the only Colorado player with more than 300 home runs.
In 1997, Helton made his Rockies debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In an interesting twist, he started the game in left field. That day against the Pirates, Helton logged his first Major League hit (a single) as well his first career home run. The next year, his first full season in 1998, Helton finished second to the Cubs’ Kerry Wood for the National League Rookie of the Year award.
Helton’s best individual season came in 2000 when he led the league in hits (216), doubles (59), RBI (147), average (.372), on-base percentage (.463), slugging percentage (.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.
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Helton finished his career as the club’s single-season record holder for doubles (59), home runs (49), and walks (127).
Who knows, in ’17 we could see No. 17 back with the Rockies in some role. After all, he’s indicated he’s interested in getting back into baseball in some capacity (with the Rockies, he hopes).
And while it might not have anything to do with 2017, don’t forget that Helton is eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019. Some are predicting him to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He’s certainly put up the statistics to be worthy of the honor. We’re hoping he’ll join Larry Walker as the first two Colorado players inducted into Cooperstown.