Todd Helton, Joe Mauer increasingly headed to Baseball Hall of Fame after rare one-team MLB careers

The 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame class is set: Adrian Beltre, Jim Leyland, Joe Mauer and Todd Helton. Going to Cooperstown later this year, While Beltre was, undoubtedly, a first-ballot Hall of Famer and Leyland was selected by a committee in December, Mauer and Helton’s induction came down to the wire. Helton received 79.7% of the baseball writers’ vote, and Mauer passed the 75% threshold with 76.1%.

Helton and Mauer are also not part of the 2024 Hall of Fame class. We’re going to discuss the pair and, more briefly, their teams in this space. Specifically, how they were both one-team players throughout their MLB careers. This is something that is becoming increasingly rare in this day and age, but Mauer (Twins) and Helton (Rockies) both only fit for one franchise. Will we see guys like Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout get there as well? Maybe some of the younger generation (Ronald Acuna Jr.?) can do the same, but it’s still a rare opportunity.

The last time we saw a teammate make the Hall in the 2020 vote was when Derek Jeter did so. Before Jeter, the last decade had Mariano Rivera and Edgar Martínez (2019), Chipper Jones (2018), Jeff Bagwell (2017) and Craig Biggio (2015) and it doesn’t seem like anyone else can join the group until Buster Is. Posey (2027). This means that from 2021-26, only Helton and Mauer will be inducted into the Hall of Fame from a one-team club.

Todd Helton was drafted by the Rockies eighth overall in 1995 out of the University of Tennessee (fun fact: he was the backup quarterback behind Peyton Manning). He never left the organization, debuting in 1997 and retiring after the 2013 season. He played 2,247 games with the Rockies and zero with any other ball club. He holds the Rockies record for games played with 747(!), a figure twice that of all except Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez and Larry Walker.

Helton would join Larry Walker as the only players to wear a Rockies cap on his stripes in Cooperstown. However, Walker played for the Expos and Cardinals, so Helton is the first player in the Hall to play only for the Rockies.

Joe Mauer was the first overall pick out of high school in the 2001 draft, which included college superstars Mark Pryor and Mark Teixeira. He started as a 20-year-old catcher in 2004 and finished his career with the Twins in 2018. In his 15 seasons with the team, he played in 1,858 games. He ranks sixth in franchise history in games played, but if we limit it to just the Twins (and not the Washington Senators), Mauer is behind only Harmon Killebrew.

Mauer will join Killebrew, Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett, Bert Blyleven, Jim Catt and Tony Oliva with a Twins cap on his Hall of Fame plaque. Puckett, Oliva and Mauer are the only players in the Hall who played only for the Twins.

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