Todd Helton is my favorite baseball player currently still playing and I just wanted to do a shout out that today he hit the milestone of playing in his 2000th Major League ball game. Let me say that again...
His TWO THOUSANDTH game!!
Two thousand times running onto a field nearly every red blooded American kid dreams of running on. Which also translates into going to bat 7139 times, striking out 1008 times, 2308 hits, 1273 Runs Batted In, and (ouch) being hit by a pitch 54 times. Multiple years he has been an All Star, Golden Glove, and Silver Slugger
Whats even more impressive is in an era of big money and free agency he has done it all on the same team; The Colorado Rockies. In fact, of the literally tens of thousands of baseball players who have played in Major League Baseball he is only the 54th ball player to play that long with a single ballclub.
Helton struggled last year with a degenerative back ailment. The lifetime .326 hitter ended the 2010 season with a disappointing .256 and just 8 home runs. Speculation was raised on whether the Colorado fan favorite may retire at the age of 37. But Helton, whose contract with the Rockies runs through the 2013 season, wants to finish his career on his own terms. Rising to the challenge, he has silenced his detractors going into the All Star break with a .306 batting average, 14 doubles and 9 Home Runs.
Usually when I see a hitter with a full count I feel sorry for the hitter. When I see Helton with a full count, I feel sorry for the pitcher. Watching him bat is always a pleasure as he has an uncanny ability to wait a pitcher out, put some stick on the ball on a bad pitch, and just plain make a play happen.
He also is very "old school" in his approach to game. He hustles on and off the field and has set an example for his teammates for years. He said once that he was taught in Little League that you always had to run while on the play field; that you couldn't "walk" on and off between innings. That mindset, coupled with his active Christian faith, has served to lead his team against the odds to a 2007 World Series appearance.
Todd's not done yet and I, and many Colorado fans, look forward to watching him at Coors Field and who knows, maybe another "Rocktober" season or two.