10 Career-Defining Todd Helton Baseball Cards – Instant PC

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Todd Helton is one of the greatest players in the history of the Colorado Rockies, and he spent his entire 17-year career with the team. He tallied 2,519 hits, 369 home runs, 1,406 RBI and 61.8 WAR while earning five All-Star selections and winning four Silver Sluggers and three Gold Gloves.

All told, there are more than 7,500 Todd Helton cards, according to the Beckett database. So where does one begin putting together a Todd Helton PC?

These 10 cards serve as an excellent representation of his playing career and footprint on the hobby, making them a great place to start.

1993 Topps Traded #19T Todd Helton USA RC

Todd Helton was a two-sport athlete at the University of Tennessee, serving as backup quarterback behind Heath Shuler and Peyton Manning. He hit .348/.414/.595 with 22 doubles, 11 home runs and 66 RBI in 65 games as a true freshman on the baseball diamond, earning a spot on the Collegiate National Team in 1993.

His time with Team USA led to his inclusion in the 1993 Topps Traded release where he is the set’s marquee Rookie Card. It would be another two years before he began his pro career.

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1995 Best #126 Todd Helton SP

Helton capped off his terrific three-year run at Tennessee by hitting .407/.522/.775 with 20 home runs and 92 RBI in 69 games during his junior season, and the Colorado Rockies selected him with the No. 8 overall pick in the 1995 draft.

One of his first major release cards was part of the 1995 Best checklist. The 135-card set features 100 top prospects and 35 draft picks. The draft pick cards were only available in retail packs, so they are short-printed relative to the first 100 cards.

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1996 Topps Chrome #13 Todd Helton

In his first full season in the minors in 1996, Helton hit .336/.427/.492 with 28 doubles, nine home runs, 64 RBI and more walks (62) than strikeouts (49)  in 114 games between Double-A and Triple-A. He would begin the 1997 season as the No. 16 prospect in baseball thanks to that stellar performance.

The first Topps card of Helton in a Rockies uniform is part of the 1996 Topps set, with aadditional Chrome, Chrome Refractor and Power Booster versions. His “1st Bowman” card is also featured in the 1996 Bowman flagship set.

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1997 Finest Refractors #286 Todd Helton S

After returning to Triple-A to begin the 1997 season, Helton made his MLB debut on Aug. 2, 1997. With incumbent first baseman Andres Galarraga set to reach free agency during the 1997-98 offseason, Helton’s 35-game cup-of-coffee essentially served as an audition for the starting job. He hit .280/.337/.484 with five home runs and 11 RBI in 101 plate appearances to make his case.

Still a fixture in rookie subsets for 1997 products, Helton was part of the “Blue Chips” group on the 1997 Finest checklist. I’ve opted for the Refractor version of the card, but even the base card is a great-looking option.

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1998 Bowman Certified Silver Autographs #22 Todd Helton

Helton took over as Colorado’s starting first baseman to begin the 1998 season, stepping into the big shoes left behind by Galarraga. The 24-year-old hit .315/.380/.530 with 37 doubles, 25 home runs and 97 RBI in 154 games to finish runner-up to Kerry Wood in 1998 NL Rookie of the Year honors by a narrow margin.

While he has autographs 1997 products, Helton’s first Bowman autographs are part of the 1998 Bowman Certified Autographs set, which come in Blue (500 copies), Silver (75 copies) and Gold (25 copies) versions.

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2000 SkyBox Autographics #58 Todd Helton

During his third full season in the big leagues, Helton made a run at a .400 average, hitting .393 on Sept. 1 before slipping down the stretch. He still ended up leading the NL in batting average (.372), on-base percentage (.463), slugging percentage (.698), hits (216), doubles (59) and RBI (147) while launching 42 home runs.

The SkyBox product line is better known for basketball cards, but the clean look of the SkyBox Autographics inserts work for baseball as well.

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2001 SPx SPXcitement #X6 Todd Helton

On the heels of his fantastic 2000 season, Helton put together another elite campaign in 2001, hitting .336/.432/.685 with 54 doubles, a career-high 49 home runs and 146 RBI in 159 games for his second straight top-10 finish in NL MVP voting.

The SPx product line from Upper Deck always had great-looking insert sets over the years, and the SPXcitement inserts in the 2001 were a fairly easy pull at 1:8 packs with a 12-card checklist. That makes this one an affordable addition to any Helton PC.

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2002 Flair Jersey Heights Dual Swatch #10 Todd Helton/Larry Walker

By a decent margain, Helton and Larry Walker are the two greatest players in Rockies history. They are the franchise WAR leaders, with Helton (61.8 WAR) ahead of Walker (48.3 WAR) thanks to spending seven more seasons with the team. They were teammates for an eight-year stretch from 1997 until 2004 when Walker was traded to the Cardinals.

The duo has a handful of cards together, including a dual relic in the 2002 Flair Jersey Heights Dual Swatch set. Numbered to 100, it was a tough pull in the five-card packs.

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2007 Sweet Spot Sweet Swatch Memorabilia #SWHE Todd Helton

Helton continued to produce offensively even when he was no longer a 30-homer threat, and he was a key member of the 2007 Rockies team that made a surprise run to the World Series during his age-33 season. He hit .320/.434/.494 with 42 doubles, 17 home runs and 91 RBI in 154 games, and he went 5-for-15 with two doubles against the Red Sox in the Fall Classic.

The Sweet Swatch Memorabilia cards in 2007 Sweet Spot from Upper Deck feature a game-used piece, and with a massive 100-card checklist, the two-per-box inserts feature a wide variety of players.

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2014 Topps Toys R Us Purple Border #17 Todd Helton

Following his age-39 season in 2013, Helton called it quits, retiring as one of the greatest players in Rockies history and one of the best offensive players of his generation. He hit .316/.414/.539 for a 133 OPS+ over 17 seasons, and for all that is made of the Coors Field effect, he had an .855 OPS on the road during his career.

His 2014 Topps flagship card features a full stat back since he didn’t play during the 2014 season, and I’ve opted for the Toys ‘R Us exclusive purple border parallel for a Rockies color match.

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