06/19/2003 2:24 AM ET
Helton follows Gehrig's work ethic
San Diego (23-50) at Colorado (36-37), 7:05 p.m. PT
With Lou Gehrig's 100th birthday celebrated Thursday, there may be no player on the Rockies who feels closer to his legacy than first baseman Todd Helton.
Helton, who shares both Gehrig's position and passion for the game, has remained an integral part of the Rockies' offense this year. Helton leads the team in batting average, hits and runs, and is second on the club in extra base hits, runs batted in, home runs and total bases.
Helton doesn't compare himself to the Iron Horse, but simply uses Gehrig's story as a reminder of why he plays hard every game.
"Gehrig was a guy who went out there and enjoyed playing the game," Helton explained. "He went out there and played as long and as hard as he could. I go out there and play
everyday, even if something is bothering me, because you never know when the game, or even life itself gets taken away."
Helton has put up All-Star numbers in his first five professional seasons and has made the All-Star team three years running. He was the first player in 63 years -- and the first ever in the NL -- with at least 200 hits, 40 homers, 100 RBIs, 100 runs, 100 extra-base hits
and 100 walks in a season, joining the likes of Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx and Hank Greenberg, who are all honored in the Hall of Fame.
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle attributes Helton's power and high batting averages over the years to his ability to continually have solid at-bats, protecting the plate even
against pitches outside the strike zone.
"He can go ahead and foul off a ball that's not in the zone," Hurdle said. "I mean, it's amazing. Seeing this guy hit on a daily basis, right-handed, left-handed, hard or
soft ... He can come up with a big-time at-bat."
By Dan Hyatt / MLB.com
COL: LHP Darren Oliver
3-5, 5.21 ERA in 2003
0-1 12.46 ERA vs. San Diego in 2003
3-2, 4.99 ERA vs. San Diego lifetime
SD: RHP Brain Lawrence
4-7, 4.52 ERA in 2003
1-0, 3.00 ERA vs. Colorado in 2003
3-1, 6.34 ERA vs. Colorado lifetime
Players to watch:
Helton has hit in seven of his last eight games (13-for-28), raising his June average from .194 to .322. On Wednesday, Helton tacked on his second triple in as many games. ... Preston Wilson has continued his recent hot streak by hitting safely in 14 of 16 games in June.
"He's got a whole big year in front of him. He's got the brush in his hands, he's going to paint this picture, and every outing's important. Because he's in uncharted
territory. He's 10-3. He's never been 10-3 before." -- Hurdle on Shawn Chacon's
success so far and the challenges remaining for the hurler
On the Internet:
SD: Ch. 4 Padres (SD local television)
On radio: SD: KOGO 600, XEMO (Sp.)
COL: KOA 850/ KMXA (Sp.)
Chacon earned his 10th win on Wednesday, matching Kevin Ritz's previous club record for most wins prior to the All-Star break. ... Chacon also ties Kevin Brown for the National League lead in victories, two games ahead of the closest competitors. ... Justin Speier earned his first save of the year and the second of his career. His other save came against San Diego, on May 28 of last year.
Mostly cloudy and evening thunderstorms with a 40 percent chance of rain.
Friday: Tigers at Rockies, 7:05 p.m. MT
Saturday: Tigers at Rockies, 6:05 p.m. MT
Sunday: Tigers at Rockies, 1:05 p.m. MT
Monday: Rockies at Padres, 8:05 p.m. MT
Tuesday: Rockies at Padres, 8:05 p.m. MT
Wednesday: Rockies at Padres, 8:05 p.m. MT
Dan Hyatt is an intern with MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major
League Baseball or its clubs.