VFL Todd Helton Headed to Cooperstown

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VFL Todd Helton Headed to Cooperstown
Photo by UT Sports

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.  January 23, 2024 – Tennessee baseball legend Todd Helton is headed to Cooperstown after being selected for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as revealed by the MLB Network on Tuesday evening.

In his sixth year eligible for selection, Helton appeared on 79.7 percent of the ballots from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, surpassing the 75 percent threshold. He becomes just the second player in Southeastern Conference history to be voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, joining Auburn’s Frank Thomas (2014).

Selected with the eighth overall pick in the 1995 Major League Baseball Draft by Colorado, Helton spent his entire 17-year Major League career with the Rockies and is still the franchise leader in games played (2,247), runs scored (1,401), hits (2,519), doubles (592), home runs (369), RBI (1,406), total bases (4,292) and walks (1,335).

Helton was a five-time MLB All-Star (2000-04), four-time Sliver Slugger award winner (2000-03), three-time Gold Glove winner (2001, 2002, 2004) and won the National League batting title in 2000. He also helped lead the Rockies to their first and only World Series appearance in franchise history in 2007. Helton joins Larry Walker as the second Rockies’ player to be enshrined in Cooperstown.

Already a member of the Tennessee Baseball Hall of Fame (Class of 2008), the Tennessee Athletics Hall of Fame (Class of 2017) and the National College Baseball Hall of Fame (Class of 2021), Helton had arguably the most decorated and dominant career of any player in program history and is still considered one of the greatest two-way players to ever play at the collegiate level.

During his time on Rocky Top, Helton was a standout performer at the plate and on the mound, setting numerous program records during his storied career. The Knoxville native still sits atop UT’s record book in career RBI (238), walks (147) and saves (23). He also holds single-season records for runs batted in (92 in 1995), earned run average (0.89 in 1994) and saves (12 in 1995).

Helton earned a multitude of national awards and accolades during his three seasons on Rocky Top, including winning the 1995 Dick Howser Trophy and earning National Player of the Year honors by the American Baseball Coaches Association, Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Helton was also named the 1995 SEC Player of the Year, a two-time first-team All-American (1994 & 1995) and a Freshman All-American (1993).

In his final season at UT, Helton helped lead the Volunteers to 1995 SEC regular season and tournament titles, as well as their first Men’s College World Series appearance in 44 years.

“What Todd Helton did for the Colorado Rockies organization is nothing short of legendary,” Tennessee baseball head coach Tony Vitello said. “Nonetheless, folks here think just as highly of all he has accomplished in our great state. What he has done in this community prior to, during and after his time on Rocky Top may never be duplicated.

“He went from being a local superstar in high school to being a hometown representative for the University of Tennessee here in Knoxville. As many I’m sure have mentioned, he was not just a two-way standout on the baseball field but also a legit two-sport athlete. Athleticism helped create those opportunities, but extreme competitiveness helped fuel his success. Ever since his days of success in Major League Baseball have concluded, he has given back to UT in every way you can possibly imagine. He truly deserves every bit of love he receives from Vol Nation.”

The official induction ceremony for the 2024 Hall of Fame selections will take place in Cooperstown, New York on July 21.

For more information on Helton’s Hall of Fame selection and this year’s National Baseball Hall of Fame Class, click HERE.

Source: UT Sports
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