Todd Helton's Biography
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  Major League
Service: Three years, 59 days
Contract: Third year of a four-year contract, through 2001

Career Summary
In two full seasons, Todd Helton has quickly developed into one of the game’s most productive first basemen…ignoring a recent trend, which saw many players fall off after an outstanding rookie season, Helton in his "sophomore" season blew away his rookie numbers…one of 10 players remaining from the Rockies 1999 Opening Day roster, Helton is key to the club’s future…the only position player ever drafted by the Rockies in the first round (1995), Todd signed a four-year contract before the 1999 season, a deal rarely offered to a player after his rookie season…
Helton was a catalyst to the Rockies success in ‘99; he hit nearly 100 points better in Rockies wins than in Rockies losses; what’s more, 23 of his 35 homers, and 75 of his 113 RBI came in Colorado victories…Todd’s resilient, too, having started slowly each of the last two years, before exploding in the second half…in August, no player in the majors has proven more dangerous from 1998-99. Helton has hit .381 (88-for-231) with 12 homers and 57 RBI over the last two Augusts…he plays one of the toughest first bases in baseball, learning to deal with the late-evening sun that hounds his position for most of the summer…during his career he’s ranked among major league leaders in 3-6-3 double plays; he has a quick release and he’s left-handed, so he has a good angle in executing the play…he wasn’t a full-time first baseman until the ‘98 season, after Andres Galarraga opted to sign with Atlanta and Helton stepped into the shoes of the franchise icon; even during his first few months in the majors, Helton played in the outfield…he wasn’t blessed with great speed, either, but he’s sharp on the basepaths…of his 25 home runs in 1998, 12 came on the road…few hitters threaten right-handers more than Helton, who ranked second in the league last year with a .349 average and a .670 slugging percentage vs. RHP…in Buddy Bell’s order, Helton figures to bat fifth, where he posted a .376 average last season…he’s also hit .335 with runners in scoring position over his career…Helton’s .315 career average ranks seventh among active players; his .554 career slugging percentage ranks 12th.
After an outstanding rookie season, in which he finished a close runner-up to Rookie of the Year Kerry Wood, the Rockies and Helton agreed to terms on a four-year contract, March 2…he was solid at first base, making 148 starts…but perhaps his most important contribution to the team was his offensive consistency, despite being asked to bat in five slots in the order (second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh)…Helton not only avoided the "sophomore jinx," he greatly improved upon his impressive rookie numbers…Todd, the only Rockies starter without a hit, went 0-for-5 on Opening Day in Monterrey, Mexico…on April 8 at Los Angeles, he delivered a two-out, three-run homer in the seventh, the deciding blast in a 4-1 Rockies win…the game marked the first of 19 in which Todd drove in at least three runs; the Rockies were 13-6 in those contests…he hit .120 (3-for-26) on the team’s opening road trip, but built a seven-game hitting streak to improve to .288…he then went 1-for-17 over his next six games to close April, by far his toughest month (.232, three homers, 13 RBI) of the season…Helton changed with the calendar, opening May with a 10-game hitting streak, including two hits in each of the streak’s last four games; the streak wound up as his longest of the year, and tied his career long from 1998…he posted his first of six multi-homer games on May 11 vs. New York…Todd then hit the skids again, going 1-for-15 over his next five games…on May 21 vs. Arizona, he tied his career high with four hits, his first of two four-hit games on the year (fifth and sixth of career); the four hits were all singles, tying a club record, last accomplished by Helton, 8/28/98…on June 2 at Atlanta, Helton blasted a solo homer to break a 2-2 tie in the 10th, giving the Rockies a win…his second four-hit contest came during the most memorable week of his career, in mid-June…he opened the stretch Monday, June 14 vs. the Giants; inserted as a pinch runner, he delivered a three-run double in his only at-bat (nine pitches), the game-winning hit in a 5-4 Rockies win…he homered and drove in four runs the next day in a 15-6 Colorado win…on June 18 vs. Florida, Todd was 3-for-5, tied a career-high with five RBI and homered twice, the second of which was his first career game-ending home run…one night later, on June 19, Helton doubled, singled and homered; in his fourth trip, knowing he needed his first triple since 5/15/98, he drove a pitch off the right-field wall and slid into third, posting the third cycle in club history…he capped the week with a homer and two more RBI and ran away with the NL Player of the Week…at one point during the Marlins series, he’d reached base in eight consecutive plate appearances…amazingly, Helton’s first four hits after his cycle were a homer, single, double and triple; he had two career triples entering the season, but posted two over the four-game stretch in June…Todd fell one hit shy of a second cycle – on FOUR occasions; only one player since 1900 (Brooklyn’s Babe Herman in 1931) cycled twice in a season…Helton went 12 games in between his 55th and 56th RBIs…over a longer stretch, from June 27 to July 22, he drove in only two runs, and finished July with nine RBI (after posting 25 in June)…he bounced back with another incredible August…Helton, who in 1998 led the majors with a .398 August average, hit .364 during the month in ‘99, with eight homers and 28 RBI, earning the club’s Player of the Month honors…Todd strung together three significant hitting streaks over the season’s final two months…from August 11-15, he posted five consecutive multi-hit games (.480, 12-for-25, four homers, 10 RBI)…from August 29 to September 1, he had four straight multi-hit games (11-for-18, .611, triple, three homers, eight RBI)…finally, from September 8-13, Helton posted multiple hits in five straight (.545, 12-for-22, three doubles, three homers, eight RBI)…on August 30 vs. Pittsburgh, with more than a month left, Helton surpassed his 1998 career high with his 26th home run…12 days later, on September 10 vs. Milwaukee, Helton eclipsed his ‘98 career-best in RBI…also that night, Todd improved his average to a season-high .316, one point better than his .315 average the previous season (he finished ‘99 hitting a career-high .320)…on September 27 at Arizona, Helton sat out his third and final game; he played in a club-leading 159 games.
In the closest balloting in 16 years, Todd Helton finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year race, despite one of the finest rookie seasons in recent memory…Helton led all major-league rookies in average (.315), homers (25), RBI (97), multi-hit games (49), total bases (281), slugging percentage (.530) and extra-base hits (63); and, among NL rookies, he was first in runs (78), hits (167), and on-base percentage (.380)…since 1972, only Mike Piazza (35), David Justice (28), and Darryl Strawberry (26) have hit more homers as an NL rookie, and only Piazza had more RBI (112)…Helton compiled his overall numbers despite a slow start, and despite platooning at first base vs. left-handed starters…on May 1 Todd was hitting just .259 with no homers and 12 RBI…he broke out in a three-game series at Philadelphia, May 4-6, going 6-for-13 with six RBI and his first two homers of the season…the first homer, May 5 off the Phillies’ Mike Grace, snapped a streak of 134 consecutive homerless at-bats (dating back to 1997)…on May 10 at Montreal Todd registered his first career multi-homer game…Helton’s first eight homers on the year were solo shots, but he delivered a three-run blast off Sean Bergman June 24 vs. Houston to end the streak…at the break he was hitting .273 with 13 homers and 45 RBI…he hit safely in the first seven games after the break, including four hits July 14 vs. San Diego…Greg Colbrunn’s July 30 trade to Atlanta officially ended the club’s first-base platoon and Todd proved in August that he could hit lefties as well as righties…Helton led the majors in August with a .398 average, hitting safely in 24 of his 29 games with 29 RBI…he went 5-for-8 in an August 18 doubleheader at New York, pushing his average past .300, where it would remain the rest of the year…he had at least one RBI in seven consecutive games August 22-28 (13 total) and finished second to Jeff Kent in the NL-Player of the Month balloting…he notched his fourth and final four-hit game of the season, September 4 vs. San Diego…a sprained right wrist (during an at-bat September 13 at San Francisco) kept him out of action during the Los Angeles series, September 14-16…on September 23 vs. Arizona, he was 3-for-5 with a double, two homers and a career-high five RBI…his 25th and final homer was a three-run blast in the season finale, September 27 vs. San Francisco; the homer played a key role in helping the Rockies erase a seven-run deficit to beat the Giants…on the year 12 of Helton’s 25 homers either tied the game or put the Rockies in front…vs. lefthanders, he started the year 0-for-12 with five strikeouts, but ended the season with a .304 mark, collecting 34 hits in his last 100 at-bats (.340) vs. lefties…his .386 average with men in scoring position led the Rockies and was fourth-best in the NL.
Little more than two years after being drafted, Helton made his major league debut…he opened the season at Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he was hitting .352 when the Rockies called August 1…a PCL All-Star, he played 78 games at first and 22 in the outfield…Todd made a memorable major-league debut August 2 at Pittsburgh, batting fifth and starting in left; he flied out in his first at-bat but singled in his second trip off the Bucs’ Francisco Cordova for his first major-league hit; after a walk he belted his first big-league homer, a solo shot off Marc Wilkins…the next day at Three Rivers, he picked up two more hits and his second homer…Helton hit safely in his first four games in the majors (7-for-16)…he went 3-for-12 as a pinch-hitter and homered off Cincinnati’s closer, Jeff Shaw, on August 25…on the season he made 14 starts in the outfield (13 in left and one in right) and posted two assists…he also started seven games at first base.
Helton opened his first full pro season with Double-A New Haven, but by late July he’d moved up to Colorado Springs…the Eastern League named him the first baseman on its midseason and postseason All-Star teams, despite his July departure…he debuted in AAA July 30, going 3-for-4 at Tucson…after three consecutive hitless games in early April, Todd did not go more than two consecutive games without a hit, including his stint in AAA…named the best defensive first baseman in the Eastern League.
Helton began his pro career at Asheville (A)…after the regular season, Todd played winter ball for the Maui Stingrays.
A quarterback for the gridiron Vols, he started several games during the ‘94 season in place of an injured Jerry Colquitt…a first baseman/pitcher in the spring, Todd set 19 school records and in 1995, led the Vols to the College World Series, both at the plate and on the hill…he narrowly missed the ‘95 SEC triple crown, posting the second-best average (.407), while leading in homers (20) and RBI (92)…as a hurler in ‘95, Helton was 8-2 with a 1.66 ERA and 12 saves; he made four starts on the mound, each a complete-game victory…capping an incredible collegiate career, he was Baseball America’s ‘95 College Player of the Year, the SEC’s Player of the Year, the Mizuno/Collegiate Baseball Co-National Player of the Year and was named All-America for the third straight season.

Todd Lynn Helton…he and his wife, Kristi, were married Jan. 29…a ‘92 graduate of Knox Central (Tenn.) High School, he lettered in baseball and football…a 1992 Baseball America prep All-American, he hit .655 (51-for-78)…he remained a two-sport star and attend the University of Tennessee, passing on an opportunity to sign with San Diego…he had bone spurs removed from his heels late in the fall of 1996…during the ‘98 season his teammates named him as the club player representative, the first time the Rockies have named a rookie to that role…following his spectacular rookie season, the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame named him its 1998 Professional Athlete of the Year…signed by Ty Coslow.