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Todd Helton is one of the most productive home hitters ever

Sep 16, 2013, 2:48 PM EDT

Todd Helton AP

In the wake of Rockies first baseman Todd Helton announcing that he’s retiring after the season I was curious about just how much his Coors Field-aided home production stands out.

Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com’s amazing Play Index, here are the active leaders in OPS at home:

TODD HELTON       1.048
Albert Pujols     1.014
Matt Holliday      .999
Carlos Gonzalez    .992
Miguel Cabrera     .988

No hitter has been more productive at their home ballparks than Helton and along with Matt Holliday and Carlos Gonzalez three of the top five home OPS totals belong to current or former Rockies. On the other hand, for career OPS on the road among active players Helton ranks 24th at .856–nearly 200 points below his home mark–and Holliday and Gonzalez rank 37th and 101st.

And here are the all-time leaders in home OPS:

Babe Ruth         1.184
Ted Williams      1.148
Hank Greenberg    1.121
Jimmie Foxx       1.116
Larry Walker      1.068
Barry Bonds       1.067
Lou Gehrig        1.056
TODD HELTON       1.048
Rogers Hornsby    1.032

That’s basically a list of the greatest hitters of all time, plus two really, really good hitters who played a long time with Coors Field as their home ballpark.

  1. jtpercell - Sep 16, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    If the BBWAA gets it right, Helton will be in the HOF in five years.

    • dan1111 - Sep 16, 2013 at 4:19 PM

      After adjusting for Coors Field, his case for the Hall of Fame is marginal.

      Yes, he was a very good hitter, but a 133 OPS+ is near the lower end for HOF first basemen. And his career wasn’t quite long enough to rack up a lot of value through longevity.

      He wouldn’t be a terrible choice (better than some recent inductees), but there are more deserving candidates who haven’t gotten the support–including Larry Walker.

  2. tcostant - Sep 16, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    It amazing that he could one of the “most productive home hitters ever” and also is very over paid. He has not earned his money the last three years…

  3. crnvic847 - Sep 16, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    I bet you that you haven’t earned your money at your place of employment the last three years.

  4. kruegere - Sep 16, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    He hasn’t hit over 30 HR in a year since they started testing for steroids in ’04.

    Just putting that out there.

    • jm91rs - Sep 16, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      So you’re saying he hasn’t gotten more power with age? And hasn’t hit as many home runs after the humidor as he did before? That’s just crazy.

      • kruegere - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:31 PM

        Humidor was in ’02.

        Typical aging curves don’t have power just dying when you turn 31.

  5. topauthority - Sep 16, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    and no one ever really talks about the fact that he was the place kicker for the Tennessee Vols for most if not all of the Peyton Manning era.

  6. topauthority - Sep 16, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    correction: backup qb

  7. weaselpuppy - Sep 16, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Sorry, nope.

    OPS+ higher than Helton and not even in the conversation? Guys like Norm Cash, Carlos Delgado, Will Clark, Crime Dog, Boog Powell. Just too much Denver Assist to see him as any better than any one of those guys, none of whom are getting in. He’s Cecil Cooper in a great hitting environment, which isn’t a bad thing, just not a HOF

    Hall of Very Good, please welcome Todd Helton!

    • kyzslew77 - Sep 16, 2013 at 6:23 PM

      None of those guys are within 5 WAR of Helton, and putting Powell and Delgado in the same category as him is just silly. He’s a fringe guy, but I think he gets in.

  8. jkcalhoun - Sep 16, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    We are sorry, the Baseball Hall of Fame is temporarily closed to new inductees. If this is an emergency, please hang up and call the BBWAA.

  9. paulkoopman - Sep 16, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Larry Walker is, I think, the best current candidate who is not in. I think the 2 primary reasons he’s not getting the attention he deserves is 1) a bias against Coors and 2) a predominant perception among voters that he was worse than injury-prone, but was “fragile” or “soft”. That, and also maybe because his nickname is booger.

    Anyway, if a former MVP who is also a 7 time gold glove winner, whose OPS+ is 8 points higher, AND was an excellent baserunner to boot, can’t get in, Helton is never going to sniff the Hall.

    • kyzslew77 - Sep 16, 2013 at 5:56 PM

      Most of Helton’s counting stats are significantly better, as is his OBP. They’re both HOFers in my book.

    • ptfu - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:53 PM

      Larry Walker played ~40% of his career without Colorado as a home park: five years in Montreal and a year in St Louis. Sure he had a lot of ballpark help but he was still a really good player for a long time. I agree that he’s a better HOF candidate than Helton.

      That said, strictly speaking, I think Barry Bonds is the best current candidate who is not in, with Roger Clemens a close second. If you want someone without the steroid connection, then Jeff Bagwell is well ahead of Walker and Helton. Bags put up ridiculous numbers playing 2/3 of his career in the Astrodome. And any help he got from five-plus years in Minute Maid is dwarfed by what Coors did for Walker in nine years and Helton in 17 years.

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