Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate DNVR Sports Community!

Todd Helton's moment approaches amongst the all-time Colorado Rockies to appear on Hall of Fame ballot

Patrick Lyons Avatar
January 22, 2023

Todd Helton will be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. There is zero doubt about it now.

The 17-year veteran of the Colorado Rockies has finally begun to receive significant support from voters in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) during his fifth year on the Hall of Fame ballot.

Now, the only question is whether Helton will be enshrined in Cooperstown this summer or next. On Tuesday at 4pm on the MLB Network, we’ll get our answer from Josh Rawitch, the President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Helton has been selected on 79.8% of public ballots as of Saturday evening, according to Ryan Thibodaux and his Hall of Fame tracker. Of the 164 ballots that have been shared, another 232 are expected to be cast, many of which will be unveiled after the official announcement. 

It’s been a long four years since Helton first appeared on a ballot, especially when considering the support that first year in 2019 was only 16.5%. A total of 14 players received more votes than the Tennessee native, and six of those have since had their tickets punched for Cooperstown. 

The limit of ten players per ballot does make the voting process a challenging one for voters. For players receiving at least five percent of votes, they can remain on the ballot for up to 10 years. This wrinkle to the rules allows voters to reconsider players as they continue to receive support from their peers. This has greatly helped Helton.

The narrative about Helton and his candidacy has changed a lot since November 2018 when ballots first began to arrive in mailboxes of BBWAA voters with Helton’s name on it. Larry Walker was inducted in the Hall of Fame as the Rockies’ first entrant. Knowledge of the Coors Field Hangover spread, allowing voters to recognize the balance between the benefits of Colorado’s home ballpark and the disadvantages of playing at altitude. 

With the likes of such controversial stars such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa no longer receiving attention and clogging up conversations around the game, the focus on Helton has improved.

His resumé speaks for itself as the all-time leader in virtually every hitting category in Rockies’ history. Games played (2,247), runs (1,401), hits (2,519), doubles (592), home runs (369), RBI (1,406) and walks (1,335) all start with Helton atop the list.

From 1997-2013, The Toddfather led all National League first basemen with 2,247 games played, earning a selection to the All-Star Game five times (2000-04). He was also honored with the Silver Slugger Award on four occasions (2000-03) and three times was voted winner of the Gold Glove Award for best defender at first base (2001-02, 2004).

Historically, he also fares well against the all-time greats at his position. According to JAWS, an evaluation system created by Jay Jaffe that utilizes wins-above-replacement to compare players from different generations at the same position, Helton is the 15th greatest first baseman to play the game.

For those who watched no. 17 do it for nearly two decades in Denver, it was already well known that this path would lead to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

That future is finally here. 

The following is a comprehensive list of every infielder,  coach and manager from the Rockies organization who has been listed on a Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. In order to appear on a ballot, players are required to have been active in MLB for at least 10 seasons. With a maximum 40 players on the ballot at one time, not all who have fulfilled the requirement even reach the ballot. To even do so is a great honor.


Walt Weiss: 2006 (1 vote, 0.2%)

Andrés Galarraga: 2010 (22 votes, 4.1%)

Vinny Castilla: 2012 (6 votes, 1.0%)

Eric Young, Sr.:2012 (1 vote, 0.2%)

Jason Giambi: 2020 (6 votes, 1.5%)

Justin Morneau: 2022 (5 votes, 1.3%)

Before Walt Weiss became the sixth manager in team history, he was the shortstop for four seasons between 1994-97. The 1988 AL Rookie of the Year made one All-Star Team in his 14-year career and won a World Series with the Oakland Athletics in 1989. Weiss played for the expansion Florida Marlins in 1993 before joining the Rockies the next season, becoming the first player to debut with the two expansion clubs. Weiss remains the only Rockies player to ever manage the club, which he did from 2013-16.

Sep 29, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss (22) talking with fans before the start of the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Andrés “Big Cat” Galarraga revitalized his career in Denver after two lackluster seasons in Montreál and St. Louis in 1991 and 1992, respectively. When Don Baylor, the club’s inaugural manager, worked as Galaragga’s hitting instructor with the Cardinals and convinced him to open his stance, the Venezuelan slugger was given a second career. In five years with the Rockies, he amassed more bWAR than all his eight seasons with the Expos. 

During his 19-year career, Galarraga was selected to five All-Star Games, won two Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger Awards, not to mention two Comeback Player of the Year Awards following returns from cancer treatment. He finished in the top 10 of NL MVP voting in eight different seasons.

Vinny Castilla got his first opportunity to become a starter with Colorado after languishing in the minors for two years with Atlanta. He was selected in the 1993 NL Expansion Draft and quickly became a fan favorite as part of the Blake Street Bombers. Castilla was selected to two All-Star Games, won three Silver Slugger Awards at third base, and tallied MVP votes in four separate seasons. He currently serves as a Special Assistant to the General Manager with the organization.

Eric Young Sr. may quite possibly be the first player you name from the original 1993 club. Playing their games at Mile High Stadium, EY was the first Rockie to bat in the first MLB game played in Denver. He proceeded to deliver a leadoff home run for the 80,227 fans in attendance, the largest crowd ever for a big league game. He hit .438 during the 1995 NL Division Series and made an All-Star appearance for Colorado the next season. 


Ranked ahead of Hall of Famers such as Tony Pérez and Orlando Cepeda according to JAWS, Giambi had a prestigious career with the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees before joining Colorado during the 2009 postseason run. As a five-time selection to the Midsummer Classic and winner of the American League MVP in 2000, Giambi’s positive clubhouse presence and penchant for memorable moments in Denver helped his image following a public apology for use of performance-enhancing drugs after the BALCO scandal. 

Justin Morneau had a solid 14-year career, earning a spot on the AL All-Star Team on four occasions and winning the 2006 AL MVP. Struck down with post-concussion syndrome during the prime of his career, his resurgence with the Rockies resulted in the NL batting title in 2014. The first baseman wore the no. 33 during his time with the franchise after receiving permission from fellow Canadian Larry Walker to bring the number back after being taken out of rotation. 

Other Notables: Howard Johnson, 2001; Todd Zeile, 2010; Lenny Harris, 2011; Tony Womack, 2012; Royce Clayton, 2013; Todd Walker, 2013; Jeff Cirillo, 2013; Melvin Mora, 2017

Future Consideration: José Reyes, 2024; Troy Tulowitzki, 2025; Mark Reynolds, 2025; Ian Desmond, 2025; Daniel Murphy, 2026

If it wasn’t for the high-profile trade that brought him over from the Toronto Blue Jays for Troy Tulowitzki, José Reyes may win the award for most talented player you forgot was a Rockie. The speedy shortstop was a four-time All-Star with the New York Mets and ultimately had a quick exit from Colorado after just 47 games following a domestic violence incident during the offseason that resulted in a suspension from Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Troy Tulowitzki is the infield version of Larry Walker: amazing abilities when healthy, but too often injured to understand their impact. Tulo racked up five All-Star nods, two Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, and MVP votes in six seasons before his trade to Toronto in 2015. 

Ranked 27th by JAWS among shortstops, Tulowitzki is just out of range for Hall of Famers at the position. He’s two places behind Nomar Garciaparra, a player who received 5.5% of votes in his first year before dropping off the ballot in year-two. Should the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up make a second ballot, he’ll join only Walker, Helton and Dale Murphy as the only players to ever do so.


Dwight Evans: 1997-99 (49 votes in 1998, 10.4%)

Ken Griffey Sr.: 1997 (22 votes, 4.7%)

Carney Lansford: 1998 (3 votes, 0.6%)

Colorado boasts several former ballplayers who had impressive careers before joining the organization as coaches.

Dwight Evans, hitting coach in 1994, stayed on the ballot for three years after a 20-year career almost entirely with the Boston Red Sox. Dewey won eight Gold Glove Awards in right field and is considered the 16th greatest to play the position by JAWS, just behind Tony Gwynn and ahead of other Hall of Famers such as Dave Winfield and Vladimir Guerrero.

Known mostly by recent generations of baseball fans for his offspring, the original Ken Griffey served as hitting coach and first base coach for the 1996 Rockies following 19 seasons that saw him win back-to-back World Series with the Big Red Machine in 1975-76.

Considered the 44th-best third basemen according to JAWS, Carney Lansford played 15 years primarily with Oakland, winning a ring with them in 1989. He served as Colorado’s hitting coach in 2011-12.

Other Notables: Amos Otis,1990; Dante Bichette, 2007 (3 votes, 0.6%); Toby Harrah, 1992 (1 vote, 0.2%); Eric Young, Sr., 2012 (1 vote, 0.2%)

Future Consideration: Don Zimmer

A baseball lifer if there ever was one, Zimmer spent 44 years in professional baseball: 12 as a player and 32 as a manager and coach. He was Don Baylor’s right-hand man through the organization’s first three seasons, serving as the bench and third base coach.

As a manager with Boston during the late 70’s, Zim won 91 games or more in three consecutive seasons, missing the playoffs each year as the Wild Card was nearly two decades away from invention. He did win the 1989 NL Manager of the Year with the Cubs before coaching the New York Yankees to four World Series Championship after his time in Colorado.

Popeye, as he was affectionately referred due to his likeness to the cartoon character, also won two World Series as a player with the Dodgers, once in Brooklyn (1955) and once in Los Angeles (1959).


Don Baylor: 1994-95 (12 votes in 1995, 2.6%)

Buddy Bell: 1995 (8 votes, 1.7%)

Before becoming the first manager in franchise history, Baylor was the 1979 AL MVP with the California Angels. He won three Silver Slugger Awards over a 19-year career and was plunked a remarkable 267 times, leading the league in hit-by-pitches on eight different occasions.

Buddy Bell is the son of a big leaguer (Gus) and the father of two players (David and Mike). A five-time All-Star and six-time Gold Glove Award winner at third base, Bell attended the same high school in Ohio as two other Hall of Famers: Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin.

Many managers, excluding those who had extensive playing careers, are in a similar category as executives, pioneers, and umpires, as they can only be elected to Cooperstown through a veterans’ committee and never appear on a BBWAA ballot.

As such, Jim Leyland has an opportunity to join the other 23 managers currently enshrined in the Hall. He won a World Series ring in 1997 with the Florida Marlins along with three wins in the NL Manager of the Year, in addition to taking the Pittsburgh Pirates to three consecutive NLCS appearances from 1990-92 and the Detroit Tigers to two World Series in 2006 and 2012.

With 1,769 career wins, 18th-most all-time, he has more than HOFer Whitey Herzog who has 488 less victories and two less playoff appearances. Leyland is also the only man to win the World Baseball Classic as skipper of Team USA. His one season as Rockies manager in 1999 is far from his finest, quitting on the organization with two additional years left on his contract. 

Other Notables: Walt Weiss: 2006 (1 vote, 0.2%)

Future Consideration: Joe Girardi, Craig Counsell, Gabe Kapler

Joe Girardi, the first catcher in Rockies history, already has 1,120 wins as a manager. The winner of the 2006 NL Manager of the Year despite a 78-84 record, the 57-year-old still has a ways to go until he’s considered among the greatest. His firing last year with the Philadelphia Phillies didn’t help his case. With a .545 career winning percentage and six playoff appearances – seven, if we include the 2022 Phillies – include a victorious 2009 World Series.

Though early in the managerial careers of former Rockies’ Craig Counsell and Gabe Kapler, the two field generals have been largely successful since transitioning to the dugout. In 2018, Counsell took Milwaukee to within one game of the franchise’s first World Series appearance since 1982. Kapler set a Giants’ franchise record with 107 wins, most in the 140-year history of the Giants’ franchise.

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?