Helton is heart of the Rockies | VailDaily.com

Helton is heart of the Rockies

Troy E. Renck
The Denver Post
Rockies slugger Todd Helton watched what turned out to be his 500th career double Wednesday. The double hit the top of the scoreboard in right field. The Colorado Rockies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3 at Coors Field Wednesday afternoon, July 22, 2009. Karl Gehring/ The Denver Post

PHILADELPHIA – Todd Helton is the Rockies. For more than a decade, he has achieved a level of consistency and durability no other Colorado player has ever equaled.

As the Rockies open their National League division series today against the Phillies, Helton will be at first base and in the third spot in the lineup.

If shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is the franchise, Helton is the fixture.

“We all look to Todd,” outfielder Brad Hawpe said.

In aging, Helton has evolved, as a player and as a leader. At 36, he’s not the breathless slugger who can change a game with one swing. Helton’s value has changed with him. Where he benefits the Rockies most is not in statistics but rather in the dugout and in the clubhouse.

He’s not a vocal leader – far from it. If you want to know about him, ask others.

His strengths are his work ethic, his professionalism and a dry wit that would make him hate himself if he ever demanded star treatment.

“Todd rubs off on everyone,” hitting instructor Don Baylor said. “You watch how he goes about his daily business, and you can see how, for example, Tulo has learned from him, how he has passed that torch.”

For more of this Denver Post story: http://www.denverpost.com/sports/ci_13501662

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