The Colorado Rockies unexpectedly dropped some incredibly exciting news the day after Opening Day: franchise legend and soon-to-be Hall of Famer first baseman Todd Helton is returning to the team where he spent all 17 seasons of his career. Helton will be assuming the role of special assistant to the general manager Bill Schmidt. He joins former teammate Vinny Castilla and former Rocktober manager Clint Hurdle in the role.
Helton will assist Bill Schmidt on all sides of baseball operations, but will take specific focus on the minor leagues and player development. He will work with minor leaguers and prospects at all levels of play, something he did during spring training with the minor league camp. Helton notably worked on mentoring top first baseman prospect Michael Toglia as a guest coach and instructor.
Helton’s addition to the Rockies staff is hugely important, not just because a franchise hero has rejoined the ranks. His ability on both sides of the ball and decades of experience will be an invaluable asset to developing players. His history with the Rockies as an exemplar of franchise success both personally and as a key member of the Rocktober Rockies will show young players that they can win and give them insight on how to do so.
Helton could also be an important teacher for upcoming players on how to overcome the dreaded Coors hangover. Throughout his 17-season career with the Rockies, Helton hit very well both at home and on the road. Of course he had elevated stats at home, slashing .345/.441/.607, but had a very solid line of .287/.386/.469 on the road. Helton was a five time All-Star, four time Silver Slugger, and three time Gold Glove winner. He also won the 2000 batting title, a season where he was a strong contender for the National League MVP.