The “Coors Effect” feels so overblown. Sure, Coors Field is a very hitter friendly park. But Todd Helton deserves was a great hitter, regardless of if he played in Coors or not. Helton appeared in 17 big league seasons, all with the Colorado Rockies. He has a good chance of making the Hall this year, and if I had a vote, I would give him one.
Helton is a career .316/.414/.549 batter. He is one of just five first basemen who is in the .300/.400/.500 club (min. 5000 plate appearances). Sure, his 133 career OPS+ is by far the lowest among the other first basemen in that club, but that’s still a good rate. That nearly matches the likes of Fred McGriff, Eddie Murray, and Orlando Cepeda. According to Baseball Reference’s similarity score, four of the top five players they name are Hall of Famers, including Jeff Bagwell, Edgard Martinez, Vlad Guerrero Sr., and Cepeda.
Helton also has multiple cumulative stats that are Hall worthy. He racked up 2519 hits and 369 home runs. Helton has +61.4 bWAR as well. He is also just one of seven 1Bs with 2500+ hits and an OPS+ of 130 or greater. The five are in the Hall of Fame and the sixth is Rafael Palmeiro, who would be in the Hall had it not been for his connection to PEDs.
But Helton was a great defensive first baseman with +107 total zone runs at first base. He has the ninth most fielding runs per Baseball Reference. Of the eight other names ahead of him, three played pre-WWII.
I honestly think Helton is one of the most underrated first basemen ever. He hit well throughout his career and was an elite defensive 1B. I think too many people compare players to the inner-circle Hall of Fame types, when that’s not the standard to make the Hall.