A Sad Good-Bye

Todd Helton

Todd Helton

It’s the time of season when we say good-bye to a lot of players. Some of them voluntarily ride off into the sunset, while others are sent packing. A third group gets relegated to the minors and never surface again. This year we’re saying a voluntary “good-bye” to three quality players: Andy Pettitte, Todd Helton, and Mariano Rivera. I’ve done Pettitte. Here’s my take on Helton (Rivera to follow).

Helton is the finest player in Colorado history. His only true competition is Larry Walker and Walker spent a lot of quality playing time in Montreal. Helton will end his career with a .300 batting average, an OPS in the .950s, and currently has an OPS+ of 133. He’s got 368 home runs, 4277 total bases, and a week left to play. He’s not going to get 3000 hits, but he might make 1400 RBIs (he’s got 1398). He has a batting title, a slugging title (who knew?), an RBI title, and led the league in doubles. He’s an excellent first baseman leading the National League in assists, range factor, and fielding percentage at various times. He’s seldom played for a winner (he made it to one World Series), so he’s missed much of the limelight that other players receive. Colorado is kind of an obscure team anyway, mostly famous for balls in humidors and Coors Field, but Helton still made the All Star team five times. And he just pulled off the hidden ball trick.

But, of course, there’s Coors Field and some people think he’s gotten unfair advantage in his playing career. So did a lot of people and we now have stats that are supposed to take care of factoring that in. But whether they do a good job of it or not, it really doesn’t make a lot of difference to me. I look at the high mound of Dodger Stadium and note no one but Sandy Koufax put up his numbers. I look at Fenway Park and note a lot of people couldn’t bounce doubles off the “Green Monster” the way Wade Boggs did. And Mel Ott had the Polo Grounds, but so did a lot of other players. So I don’t think a park alone should be a determination of the player’s career. Let us celebrate Helton because we know he’d be a great player no matter his park. Enjoy the time off, man.

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4 Responses to “A Sad Good-Bye”

  1. sportsphd Says:

    I hope HOF voters take Helton seriously. On the road for his career, he hit .287/.386/.470. To focus in on just his road OBP, it is higher than the career OBP/s of guys like Alex Rodriguez, Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews, George Sisler, Yaz, etc. His road OBP is within five points of the career OBP’s of great hitters like Tony Gwynn, Rod Carew, and Joe Morgan. Yet, I think he will be severely hurt because he did what he was supposed to do: hit well in a great hitter’s park.

  2. Glen Russell Slater Says:

    V, please don’t title your posts in such a way! When I got the notification of your post in the mail entitled “A Sad Good-Bye”, it made me think that you were stopping your blog, which I enjoy immensely! “A Sad Good-Bye.”

    Frankly, I don’t give a damn about Hilton or whatever his name is, but I do look forward to your blog postings!

    Glen

  3. Glen Russell Slater Says:

    It’s not that I never enjoyed Helton play. I just never SAW Helton play, to be honest with you.

    I wasn’t putting him down, believe me.

    Glen

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