It happened! Colorado Rockies legend Todd Helton is officially heading to Cooperstown as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2024!
After receiving 79.7% of the vote — 307 in all, 18 votes over the 75% threshold — No. 17 will join Larry Walker in Cooperstown. He is the first Rockie to play his entire career with the team to be elected.
Helton’s reaction to the news is as muted as you’d expect from the stoic cowboy, but even he seemed to be a bit choked up when he received the call he’d been waiting so long to hear:
He joins first-ballot Hall of Famers Adrián Beltré and Joe Mauer.
In a Zoom call with the media, Helton said, First of all, I’d like to thank the baseball writers for electing me. I know that it’s a huge honor, and it’s very humbling that I got in.”
Helton also thanked his family, the Rockies organization, and all the Rockies fans as well.
“I was very lucky to get drafted by Colorado,” Helton said. “Not only is it a good place to hit, it’s got great fans, and it’s got just good people who run the organization. It was 17 good years, and I’m not gonna lie: I miss it. I didn’t think I would, but I miss the competition of going out and playing every day.”
The induction of Larry Walker certainly paved the way, as it helped put some of the “Coooooors” talk to rest. However, naturally, there were still folks who argued that Helton played all of his home games at Coors while Walker did play for other teams.
Helton believes, though, that Walker’s induction was a first step for his own.
“I think Larry Walker moved that needle more than me,” Helton said. “He paved the way for me, and I’ve got to thank him, too. He made it all right for the voters to vote for a Colorado position player.”
He added, “You don’t get to pick where you play, and you always want to hit better at your home park. I’m not embarrassed or anything about my home and road numbers. Going on the road after hitting in Colorado is hard, and the ball breaks more, and it’s a huge adjustment going through the season, going through that rigorous grind of being able to make those changes mid-season. It is a good place to hit, but there are some drawbacks and toughness about going and playing there.”
When asked about his “most emotional moment as a Rockie,” Helton’s answer was quick.
“The most emotional moment was when I realized, I caught the ball, and I realized we were going to go to a World Series.” Then he added, “There’s a lot of good moments, citing the 2007 season as his favorite, saying “But I enjoyed winning. Every game we won was a good game.”
When the voting was unfolding, Helton did not follow along. “I really didn’t listen to anybody or anything. This time around, I didn’t check the internet or watch the baseball channel. I just said, ‘If it happens, it happens.’”
This year, it happened.
Helton’s former Rockies teammate Matt Holliday received 1% of the vote in his HOF debut. Because he received less than 5% of votes, he will be dropped from the ballot next year.
“The Toddfather” will officially be enshrined in Cooperstown with his classmates Mauer and Beltré this summer on July 21st.