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Todd Helton got a horse from the Rockies

Sep 25, 2013, 11:39 PM EDT

todd helton getty Getty Images

Yes, you did read the above headline correctly.

Todd Helton, a first-round pick of the Rockies in 1995 who spent all 17 of his major league seasons with the organization, is playing the final home game of his career on Wednesday night at Coors Field.

Helton hit a solo home run in the second inning off Red Sox starter Jake Peavy and also drove in runs in the third and fifth innings, but the real highlight of the evening happened just before first pitch when Rockies management gifted the 40-year-old and his family a living, breathing horse named Bustamove. From the Rockies’ official Twitter feed:


  1. natsattack - Sep 25, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    Sorta like when the Astros gave Oswalt a bulldozer a few years back.

  2. nvaliant - Sep 25, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Should be a HOFer. But even if the selection committee screws it up, he doesn’t need it to validate his career. 17 years in the same uniform, and never publicly griped about playing on bad teams. An absolute pleasure to watch. Injuries have robbed him of his offensive prowess the last few years, but never gave excuses and always played a stellar first base. Saved hundreds of errors with his ability to pick the ball. Undoubtedly an all-time great.

    • cohnjusack - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:52 AM

      Maybe should be a HOFer and that is certainly debatable. It seems to be a trend nowadays to deny how friggin absurd Coors Field pre-humidor was…as in, it was the greatest hitting environment in baseball history.

      In Helton’s years, Rockies home/road OPS

      1998: Home: .901 Road: .711
      1999: Home: .932 Road: .700
      2000: Home: .938 Road: .638
      2001: Home: .941 Road: .732
      2002: Home: .871 Road: .646
      2003: Home: .875 Road: .704
      2004: Home: .881 Road: .718
      2005: Home: .826 Road: .658
      2006: Home: .825 Road: .724
      2007: Home: .853 Road: .730

      Those are Helton’s peak years, in which the Rockies as a team collectively hit like an MVP candidate at home and a…well…not on the road. Their home OPS was often 200 points higher. Tellingly, Helton’s OPS was nearly 200 points higher at home, hitting .287/.386/.470 on the road in his career.

      Adjusting for their park, Helton posts a career 133 OPS. That’s great…but for a 1st baseman, that is certainly not a no dobt HOFer. That’s puts him with Jim Edmonds (also a GG center fielder, faaar away on the defensive spectrum), Carlos Delgado (not going to go), Mo Vaughn, John Olerud… The players near him on the OPS+ scale in the hall either played far to the left on the defensive spectrum (Morgan, Carew, Cochranel, Boggs) or had very, very long careers (Winfield, Murray, Yastzemski).

      He was great…but why to everyone have to throw out the no doubt HOFer claim on players that their absolutely is wide spread doubt on!. He was the 4th or 5th best 1st baseman of his era. That is not a no doubt HOFer.

      • moogro - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:55 PM

        And the spray charts. Dozens of homers to center and left center would be easy outs.

    • tferr85 - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:39 AM

      Whoa! Whoa! Settle down there.

      You are talking about a power hitting first basemen who played in Coors yet only lead the league in average once , OBP twice and slugging once. And the year he did lead the league all three catagories the BBWAA still didn’t see it fit to vote him higher than 5th place in the MVP ballot. So that tells you how they feel about his home field advantage.

      Helton had a fine career just not a great one. Plus the dude lost the starting QB job to Peyton. That is unacceptable.

      • jarathen - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:00 AM

        The BBWAA’s MVP vote is often inaccurate. He led the NL in WAR in 2000 per Baseball-Reference and had a huge lead over Edmonds and Piazza, who both finished ahead of him.

        Anyway, as a fractured and hypocritical institution, enshrinement in abseball Hall of Fame shouldn’t be weighted too heavily. Todd Helton had a fantastic career and got to spend it all in Denver.

      • tferr85 - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:09 AM

        Doesn’t matter its if the BBWAA is right or wrong. They vote for the MVP and they vote for the HOF…

        And the fact that Helton could have a career line of 320/420/540 and his was only put on MVP ballots in 6 of his 17 seasons says a lot about how the people who vote for the HOF feel about him.

        Then you have his size and era that played in. Not saying he took PEDs but the HEY LOOK HE’S A BIG DUDE IN THE STEROID ERA!! BET HE TOOK ROIDS WITH BAGWELL!!! sentiment will show it stupid ugly face too.

  3. zzalapski - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:02 AM

    Not quite as nice as a winning lottery ticket, but, hay.

    • Old Gator - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:31 AM


  4. Walk - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    Coors field helped him a lot, but I was still on the edge of my seat no matter the city he was in. Beautiful horse, got a bit of rockies purple on his blanket as well.

  5. 1981titan - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:33 AM

    Nice gift, considering he has 5,000 acre ranch north of Denver

  6. dolphindubs - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    Now he can literally ride off into the sunset…. Eh? Eh? Ughhh….

    Helton always seemed like a good dude, a consumate professional. Just went about his business, kept his mouth shut and his nose clean. We need more athletes like this. Enjoy retirement man!

  7. zzalapski - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:23 AM

    There was fan art of Helton at tonight’s game.

    • moogro - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      I love how the waist is way too high where it meets the horse body. He looks dickless.

  8. yahmule - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    Todd Helton has certainly done a lot for sports fans in Denver. Helton played quarterback at Tennessee and he befriended an incoming freshman named Peyton Manning who was there to take his job. This two sport BMOC didn’t have to do that, but that’s just the kind of guy Helton has always been. Jump ahead almost 20 years later and Peyton Manning, released by the Colts, winds up doing a lot of the rehab after his neck surgery in the Rockies facilities as a guest of Todd Helton. Manning was in the dugout tonight for his old friend, but he kept well out of sight because he didn’t want to take any of the spotlight away.

  9. nvaliant - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    Home/road split is what people who didn’t watch him play point to when discussing his greatness. Look at how many ABs it took him to get to 2000 hits and the select few who did it faster

    • paperlions - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:17 AM

      Nah, home/road splits are what people point to that understand context and environment and that watched him play on the road. You always expect some split as most players hit better at home than on the road (unless they play in extreme pitcher parks), but the splits caused by Coors (and Arizona) require some adjustment if you are looking at raw or rate stats….just like Yankee stadium stats for LHB or Fenway stats for RHB….take Cody Ross out of Fenway and you get 2013 Cody Ross, who doesn’t look all that much like 2012 Cody Ross even though he moved to a great hitters park.

  10. quintjs - Sep 26, 2013 at 3:54 AM

    just to be clear – Rivera got a year’s worth of celebration where every team in baseball had to shower him with gifts… and Helton got a horse.

    Not saying Rivera isn’t worthy but there is a lesson for new players – annouce your retirement at the start of the season.

    • paperlions - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:24 AM

      Rivera is the best relief pitcher in baseball history. Helton was a very good 1B.

      Rivera is also an all-star person, whereas Helton is an okay guy who inexplicably decided to go buy lottery tickets while totally plowed.

      Helton wouldn’t have gotten too much different of a celebration if he had announced his retirement 6 months ago.

  11. tferr85 - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    They should probably disclose to him that you can get a DUI while on a horse.

  12. yahmule - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Coors was a double edged sword to a certain degree. I think the players generally needed a game or two on road trips to adjust to lower elevation. The biggest issue with the altitude in Denver isn’t just the way the ball carries, but the flattening effect it has on breaking pitches.

  13. eagles512 - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Can you be charged with DUI on a horse?

    • moogro - Sep 26, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      Yes. Google.

  14. earpaniac - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Judging by his lovely wife, I see pro athletes still get all the good fringe benefits.

  15. Walk - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    I have actually seen a dui for being drunk on a horse, seems like 2000 or 2001, I know there was a story about it as well in the defuniak springs florida newspaper. No the horse was not drunk, just the rider and I do not know how it played out in court. I have also seen a dwi issued for a gentleman on a riding lawn mower. On an episode of cops I saw a guy on a scissor lift get either a dui or dwi.

  16. foreverchipper10 - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    This gives new meaning to the phrase looking a gift horse in the mouth.

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