Todd Helton

1st Baseman

Class of 2024

Todd Helton

1st Baseman

Class of 2024
Patience and power helped Todd Helton make his name in the Mile High City.


Birth year

About Todd Helton

Todd Helton began his career on the national stage as a quarterback whose college career was sandwiched between two future first-round draft picks.

Helton ended it with a plaque in Cooperstown following 17 seasons of almost unparalleled offensive excellence with the Colorado Rockies.

The son of a former minor league catcher, Todd Lynn Helton was born Aug. 20, 1973, in Knoxville, Tenn. He starred on both the diamond and the gridiron in high school and opted to play college football, committing to play quarterback at the University of Tennessee despite being taken in the second round of the 1992 MLB Draft by the Padres.

With the Volunteers, Helton saw limited action in 1993 as a backup to Heath Shuler before taking over the starting quarterback job in 1994. But a knee injury knocked him out of action early in the season and allowed Peyton Manning to begin his career under center.

From that point, Helton concentrated on baseball. In 1995, he was named the winner of the Dick Howser Award by the American Baseball Coaches Association – an award honoring the top player in the country – and was also named Player of the Year by Baseball America after hitting .407 while notching 11 saves as Tennessee’s closer.

The Rockies chose Helton with the No. 8 overall pick in the 1995 MLB Draft. A little more than two years later, he debuted in the big leagues.

Earning the starting first base job in 1998, Helton finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .315 with 25 homers and 97 RBI. After bettering those numbers (.320, 35, 113) in 1999 – an August meeting with Rockies hitting coach Clint Hurdle was a turning point in Helton becoming more assertive at the plate – Helton embarked on a four-year stretch that rewrote the record books. He led the NL with a .372 batting average and 147 RBI in 2000, finishing eight homers short of a Triple Crown. In 2001, Helton hit .336 with 49 home runs and 146 RBI. His 402 total bases were three shy of his 2000 total, making Helton just the seventh player in history with multiple 400-total base seasons and the fourth player to reach the mark in back-to-back campaigns.

Helton also totaled 105 extra base hits in 2001 on the heels of his 103 XBH in 2000. Only 15 100-XBH seasons have been recorded in MLB history, and Helton, Lou Gehrig and Chuck Klein are the only players to reach the milestone in as many as two years.

“The more and more I see him, the more and more I appreciate what he does,” Hall of Fame first baseman Jeff Bagwell said of Helton. “To me he’s a complete player because he can play defense and run the bases. He does everything.”

Helton also won the first of three Gold Glove Awards in 2001 en route to leading the NL in fielding percentage six times. He narrowly missed out on his second batting title in 2003 when – needing a hit to overtake Albert Pujols, who finished the season at .35871 – he was intentionally walked by the Padres in the eighth inning of the season’s final game, leaving Helton with an average of .35849.

Helton continued to be a productive hitter in his 30s, leading the big leagues with a .445 on-base percentage in 2005 and topping the .300 batting average mark in 12 of his first 13 full seasons.

He reached the postseason for the first time in 2007 as the Rockies won the NL pennant and hit .333 in the World Series against the Red Sox.

A five-time All-Star, Helton finished his career with a .316 batting average, .414 on-base percentage and .539 slugging average to go along with 592 doubles, 369 homers, 1,401 runs scored, 1,406 RBI and more walks (1,335) than strikeouts (1,175).

His career OPS of .953 ranked 18th among AL/NL players at the time of his retirement, and his 592 doubles ranked 16th. He is one of only 11 retired players in history with at least a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage, .500 slugging percentage and 350 home runs.

The Basics

Year inducted
Birth Place
Knoxville, Tennessee
Birth Year

Career at a Glance

Primary Team
Colorado Rockies
Primary Position
1st Baseman
Played For
Colorado Rockies, 1997-2013

Career MLB Stats

At bats
Home Runs
Stolen Bases
Batting Average
On Base %
Slugging %