It saddened me to see that his mark did not receive much coverage, so I thought I would give it a few words.
Jump back almost a week, to April 21. The Rockies were playing the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park and it was a comfortable 64 degrees in that dome.
It had not been a great game for the Rockies—despite a strong start from rookie pitcher Drew Pomeranz, their bullpen imploded and allowed seven earned runs. When the top of the ninth rolled around, they were losing 9-3.
Then in stepped Helton to start the frame. Facing Brewers reliever Tim Dillard, Helton became embroiled in a battle—he fought his way to a 3-2 count and on the tenth pitch of the at-bat, he won. One-handing the toss, he knocked the throw over the right field fence for a solo home run.
Unfortunately, the nascent rally he started was quickly quashed. The next three batters grounded out, struck out and grounded out, respectively. The Rockies lost 9-4.
Despite the loss, Helton’s hit was important—it was the 350th home run of his career. He is now one of only 14 active players to have reached that mark and, perhaps most importantly, one of only two members of that group to have hit all of his home runs with one team.*
*Technically, the group consists of three players: Helton, Chipper Jones and Albert Pujols. Pujols, who has yet to hit a dinger with the Los Angeles Angels, will hit one inevitably.
Helton stands as the Rockies’ career leader in home runs by a long shot—the next closest player, Larry Walker, is nearly 100 away at 258.
Not only that, his dinger has certainly bolstered his Hall of Fame argument. Though he is still a long shot, it will be hard for voters to ignore his high batting average, 2,300-plus hits, 350 home runs and excellent walk-to-strikeout ratio.
His case will grow even stronger as he reaches other milestones, like 1,500 runs scored and 1,500 RBI, which are both within striking distance.
All in all, 350 home runs is a truly impressive total for a consistently solid player.
Welcome to the club, Todd!