One of Baseball’s Best People is Calling it Quits

By Mark Tinsley


Lost in all of the NFL news, and the pennant races in baseball, one of the greatest hitters announced he would retire after this season.


Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies announced he is calling it quits after 17 years with the team. Helton spent his entire career in Colorado, and will retire as the leader in almost every hitting category. Helton leads the team all time in games, at bats, runs, hits, homeruns, rbis, and walks, amongst other categories.


Helton played in an era marred by steroids and scandals, but has always been clean, never coming up in steroid talks or discussions. Whenever you do baseball trivia, specifically hitting, Helton is usually the guy who always goes unnamed. He has never been looked at as one of the great hitters, mostly because he has played his whole career in Colorado, where balls tend to fly out at a high pace. Never the less, in a sport where people are always trying to find people to look up to, the guy may have been in the mountain state the whole time.


Helton played football at Tennessee, when a local legend also played there. That legend wore 18 for the Indianapolis Colts for a while, you may have heard of him.


Helton played in the 2007 World Series, going down to the Boston Red Sox in four games. Playing in all four games, Helton hit .333, but was otherwise very quiet in the team’s only trip to the Fall Classic. Luckily for Helton, you’re not judge so much for World Series titles as you are in basketball or football.


With that being said, I still believe Helton will be presented a bust in the Hall of Fame one day. The way the baseball Hall of Fame has worked, it is unlikely that Helton will get in on his first year of eligibility, but I believe he will get the call.


Since Major League Baseball expanded and the Rockies were integrated, they are one of the few teams with no Hall of Fame members, they have also never retired a number as an organization. With Helton retiring after this season, both of those will more than likely both come to an end.


Probably more impressive than the hits, and the homeruns, is Helton’s loyalty to the team that drafted him in the first round 17 years ago. This can also be said for the organization, which has showed great loyalty to their best player in franchise history. We see so many times when aging superstars are on bad teams, the team dumps the player for prospects, rather than paying the superstar a boatload of cash.


Helton never complaining about playing on losing teams, he never demanded to be traded, never became a locker cancer, the way we have seen so many players in other sports become. Loyalty in sports is a thing of the past for the most part, and this year we had two of the longest one-team streaks end. Yankees legendary closer Mariano Rivera also announced that this would be his last year.

Todd Helton will not go down as one of the greatest players of all time by any means, but as I said before, in an era full of scandal and dirty players, we should celebrate careers such as Helton’s, never flashy, but very effective. Now days, we parade for the flash, and forget the guys who show up to work get the job done, and head home. In an era that saw one of the flashiest players in Ken Griffey Jr., we also had one of the quietest stars in Helton.


Celebrate while we can baseball fans, players like this do not come around like this too often.


Mark can be followed on twitter: @marktinsleyjr

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