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In his sixth year on the ballot, Todd Helton could finally make it into the hallowed halls in Cooperstown's Baseball Hall of Fame in 2024. Things have been trending in this direction and everything seems to be right this time around for the Rockies legend to top the 75 percent voting threshold and gain enshrinement. 

Helton first came on the ballot in 2019. There are already seven Hall of Famers just from that ballot alone (Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Larry Walker, Fred McGriff and Scott Rolen). There were also polarizing and complicated cases like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling and Omar Vizquel in addition to strong cases for players like Jeff Kent, Billy Wagner, Gary Sheffield and Andruw Jones. That's a crowded ballot and it's easy to see why Helton's case could've been lost in the shuffle for what seemed like more important matters to be settled at the time. 

Simply, it isn't all too surprising that Helton's candidacy seemed a bit buried his first time around. He got just 16.5% of the vote. 

As we know, the landscape of the ballot changes every year while people get to further consider the cases of the ballot holdovers. That's why there are 10 years worth of votes for the players that get more than 5% of the vote. Media members get more chances to evaluate the careers of the players and, in this day and age, fans get the chance to weigh in via social media. Sometimes it doesn't help and cases stall out. Others, the players eventually make it (consider the cases of Rolen and Walker, which seems to be the roadmap for Helton). 

Let's also point out that Walker's induction in 2020 possibly helped alleviate some of the Coors Field stigma that might've been unfairly applied to Helton. 

All of this helped push Helton to 72.2% in the vote last year. So far this voting cycle, the excellent work done by ballot counters show Helton sitting at 82%. There's generally a dip with most players between the publicly known ballots before the reveal vs. the final tally and with Helton last season it was a 6.4 percent slide. If that happens again, he'll clear 75%, though it'll be incredibly close. 

It was never going to be easy. Getting 75% of a voting body to agree on anything is a chore and Helton isn't a slam-dunk Hall of Famer, such as Adrián Beltré is. He's more of a peak candidate than compiler, too. 

In parts of 17 seasons, Helton slashed .316/.414/.539 (133 OPS+) with 2,519 hits, 369 home runs, 1,406 RBI and 1,401 runs. I noted that he's a peak candidate because he falls shy of things like 3,000 hits, 500 home runs and 1,500 runs and/or RBI. That slash line is gorgeous, but that's where the Coors Field factor comes in and has hurt Helton. 

Here are the splits: 

  • Home: .345/.441/.607
  • Road: .287/.386/.469  

That seems really bad, right? As I've noted multiple times in the past, however, his road numbers should absolutely not be a disqualifier. They actually compare favorably to Hall of Famers like Eddie Murray, Orlando Cepeda, Harmon Killebrew and Willie McCovey. Players like Jim Rice, Kirby Puckett, Hank Greenberg and Wade Boggs had drastic home/road splits as well. 

Further, OPS+ adjusts for ballpark conditions and Helton at 133 in his career sits alongside Cepeda, Jackie Robinson, Al Simmons and Billy Williams. It's better than Tony Gwynn, Joe Morgan, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Dave Winfield and a host of other Hall of Famers. 

Helton was also an outstanding defensive first baseman and all of this contributed to his career WAR. He is 17th all-time among first baseman in WAR, sitting just behind McCovey, Joey Votto and Mark McGwire while sitting just ahead of Paul Goldschmidt, Killebrew and Keith Hernandez (who many believe should get in). 

Given that I said Helton is a peak candidate, we can loop in JAWS (which meshes WAR with WAR7, the top seven WAR seasons, to give extra credit for strong peaks). Helton is 15th there, ahead of Murray, Greenberg and George Sisler. The average Hall of Fame first baseman scores 53.4 while Helton is at 54.2. 

Helton isn't Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx or Albert Pujols. He's not even Jeff Bagwell or Frank Thomas. There's an easy case with Miguel Cabrera coming up in five years. Every Hall of Famer isn't necessarily going to be a no-doubt, first-ballot, all-time great. That's just not what it is or what it has been in decades. With first basemen like Cepeda and Frank Chance and McGriff and Tony Pérez and Billy Terry already in the Hall, it illustrates as much. Helton might feel more like the latter group -- WAR says he's closer to the Bagwell/Thomas crowd than those guys, by the way -- but that still clears the bar. 

If you want a deeper dive, I've done it three previous times (here, here and here). In all likelihood, though, most people have already decided whether Helton should make it or not. The "yes" people are about to win. 

Todd Helton is very likely going to be a Hall of Famer, sooner rather than later. It might happen this voting cycle. If so, he's a deserved inclusion.